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A high-flying Baroda takes on an in-form Punjab in the semifinals of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Ahmedabad.

Baroda chased down 149 in exactly 20 overs against Haryana in the quarters. Karthik Kakade took two wickets in two overs. Vishnu Solanki continued his purple patch smashing 71 including 16 runs off the last 3 balls. 

Punjab stunned the defending champions Karnataka in the quarterfinals. They restricted them to 87. It was a disciplined bowling performance as Siddharth Kaul took three wickets and Sandeep Sharma along with Arshdeep Singh claimed two scalps each.  

The chase went without any fuzz as Prabhsimran Singh scored 49 and skipper, Mandeep Singh hit 35 runs. 

Team News

 Lukman Meriwala and Atith Sheth will be the key bowlers for Baroda along with left-arm spinner, Bhargav Bhatt. Punjab's top-order is in ominous form at the moment and they have a set of experienced bowlers who can make life difficult for the opposition batsmen.

Pitch and Conditions

Both the teams won their respective quarterfinals chasing down totals successfully. Hence, they will aim to win the toss and bowl first. Since the match will start at 7 pm, dew can influence the outcome. The chasing side has to keep enough wickets at hand. 

Probable Playing XI

Punjab (Pun): Abhishek Sharma, Prabhsimran Singh (wk), Mandeep Singh (C), Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Anmolpreet Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Harpreet Brar, Mayank Markande,  Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Arshdeep Singh

Baroda (BRD): Kedar Devdhar (c), Smit Patel (wk), Vishnu Solanki, Abhimanyu Rajput, Ninad Rathva, Atit Sheth,  Bhanu Pania, Babashafi Pathan, Lukman Meriwala, Bhargav Bhatt, Karthik Kakade

Key Battles

Sandeep Sharma (PUN) vs Kedar Devdhar (BAR)

Sandeep Sharma Kedar Devdhar Punjab
Sandeep Sharma (PUN) vs Kedar Devdhar (BAR)

Devdhar scored a 40-ball 43 in the previous match. The skipper is a crucial batsman for Baroda having scored 269 runs in this tournament. Not known for his power-hitting, he is a calculative player who relies on timing the ball properly to get his runs. 

Sandeep took two wickets for 17 runs against Karnataka. He is a conventional swing bowler has been the mainstay of Punjab's bowling attack in domestic cricket. He has come up with a new wrist position and a better round-arm release. His teammate, Siddarth Kaul has helped him to master the knuckleball that enables him to make the breakthroughs in the powerplay. 

Mandeep Singh (PUN) vs Karthik Kakade (BAR)

Mandeep Singh Karthik Kakade Punjab
Mandeep Singh (PUN) vs Karthik Kakade (BAR)

Mandeep chipped in with a useful 35 in the last game. The skipper has ensured a fine campaign for his team in this tournament having stayed unbeaten so far. He needs to improve his consistency by converting his handy knocks into big scores. 

Kakade was highly economical for Baroda as he conceded 7 runs and took two wickets in his two overs. The 25-year-old off-spinner can play a big impact if he bowls his full spell.

Prediction 

Punjab have superior firepower in their bowling attack and can skittle down any opposition on their day. Baroda will be heavily dependent on a few batsmen to do the job. 

Cricwizz predicts Punjab to win the match