New Delhi: An impressive Vidarbha side beat Himachal Pradesh by 27-run to join seven other teams in the Super League of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy on Sunday.
Vidarbha will be joined by Gujarat in the knock out phase of the India's premier domestic Twenty20 league from Group A. Kerala and Jharkhand from Group B, Delhi and Baroda from Group C, and Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai from Group D are the other teams.
Vidarbha are also the only team other than Jharkhand to have qualified for the next round in all three domestic competitions -- Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Thanks to today's win, they topped the Group A over second place Gujarat. Parthiv Patel's Gujarat qualified for next round by virtue of better Net Run Rate over Tamil Nadu.
But one of the big boys of domestic cricket, Punjab failed to make the cut after Saurashtra beat them by 19 runs. Australia bound Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh had poor outings. Yuvi failed to open his account, and Bhajji's two-over spell leaked 19 runs without success at Kochi.
Meanwhile, a young Nitish Rana continued his blazing form to help Delhi beat Irfan Pathan-led Baroda by five-wicket at Vadodara, and remain unbeaten in the competition. Chasing Baroda's 153 for six, Rana's 29-ball-53 in the middle overs led Gautam Gambhir's side to the victory with three balls remaining.
In another match, Jharkhand defeated already qualified Kerala by six wickets to book their knockout place of the national T20 championship. They Shahbaz Nadeem's side chased down Kerala's 169 in 19 overs. Ishank Jaggi top-scored with 45 runs off 32 balls. Skipper Nadeem himself picked-up three wickets while Kerala was batting, even though rival skipper Sanju Samson once again played an exhilarating innings of 87 off 53 balls.
Next round will start on January 15, and will be played at Mumbai.