Indore: Left-hander Manprit Juneja smashed an unbeaten 108 as Gujarat thrashed Kerala by 90 runs to set up title clash with Punjab in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 championship here on Saturday.
Juneja produced a sensational exhibition of strokeplay as he struck 16 fours and three sixes in his 50-ball knock to help Gujarat score 233 for 3 after they were put into bat in the Group A match at Emerald High School Ground. Chasing the huge target, Kerala were bundled out for 143 in 19.1 overs.
With four points from Saturday's match, Gujarat topped Group A and they face Punjab in the summit clash on Sunday. Punjab beat Uttar Pradesh by 51 runs in another match here on Saturday to top Group B.
Kerala captain Sachin Baby must have rued his decision to put the opposition in though it seemed that his gamble would pay dividends as Gujarat were struggling at 31 for 3 in the fifth over. But Juneja and Abdulahad Malik (84 not out) turned the match on its head with an unbroken partnership of 202 runs from 15.4 overs for the fourth wicket. Malik was no less aggressive than Juneja as his unbeaten 84 came from just 46 balls with the help of nine fours and three sixes. The duo batted as if they were competing against each other in a contest of clearing the fence as the Kerala bowlers were sent for a leather hunt.
Chasing the huge target, Kerala lost early wickets but were still in the match till the 11th over when they were 97 for 3. But the dismissal of their captain Sachin Baby (14) in that over triggered a batting collapse and they were bundled out for 143 in 19.1 overs. For Gujarat, pacer Mehul Patel and offspinner Jesal Karia took three wickets each while Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Dahiya chipped in with a wicket each.
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