Vidarbha made an inglorious early exit from the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Friday.
The hapless Vidarbha team suffered their third consecutive loss in as many matches to bow out of the competition. In the third league outing of the Elite Group D, hosts Madhya Pradesh defeated Vidarbha by 21 runs.
Chasing a modest target of 137, Vidarbha made heavy weather of the small MP total and could muster just 115 for the loss of 9 wickets in 20 overs.
After bowlers put up an excellent performance earlier in the day, batsmen failed to compliment their efforts. Despite the achievable target, Vidarbha never looked like winning the match as they lost wickets from the beginning.
Only Siddhesh Wath excelled with the bat by striking a rapid-fire 26 off just 15 deliveries, which included two fours and two sixes. Just when he looked dangerous for MP, Wath unfortunately got run out which halted Vidarbhaâ€™s progress.
Towards the end, all-rounder Darshan Nalkande (21: 28 balls, 2×6) raised hopes of Vidarbhaâ€™s comeback but he too departed while trying to hit a big shot when 30 runs were needed off the last two overs.
MP medium-pacer Avesh Khan (5-17) was the wrecker-in-chief as he bagged a five-wicket haul to shatter the hopes of Vidarbha. Spinners Ankit Sharma (2-21) and Mihir Hirwani (1-15) supported their pacers quite well and helped MP defend a small total. It was MPâ€™s second win in three matches and they stayed in the reckoning.
Earlier, debutants Aditya Thakare and Mohit Raut made an immediate impact to help Vidarbha restrict Madhya Pradesh to 136 for 9.
Vidarbhaâ€™s new skipper Akshay Wakhare, who replaced injured regular skipper Ganesh Satish, won the toss and opted to field first.
Wakhareâ€™s first major decision as the captain of the side proved correct as Vidarbha raised their level of play and put the hosts on the back foot with some tidy bowling and sharp fielding.
Medium-pacer Aditya Thakare, who broke into the side in place of Nachiket Bute, lived up to the expectations of the team management with outstanding spell of seam and swing bowling.
The tall and lanky speedster made an early breakthrough by sending MP opener Arpit Gaud to the pavilion in the very first over of his spell. Thakare forced Gaud to edge and Wadkar made no mistake in the slip cordon. Thakare, who had made his Ranji Trophy debut in the final against Delhi at the same venue three seasons ago, ended up with a dream spell of 4-0-19-1.
Another debutant Mohit Raut also impressed. He got rid of MPâ€™s in-form batsman Rajat Patidar (50: 41 balls, 6×4) to break the shackles.
However, the most successful bowler for Vidarbha turned out to be Yash Thakur. The young paceman captured 3 wickets conceding just 25 runs.
The find of the season Darshan Nalkande continued to dazzle. The seamer did not take a wicket in the first spell but returned back in the death overs to grab a couple of wickets and checked the oppositionâ€™s run of flow.
With these two wickets, Nalkande, a member of the Kings XI Punjab team in the IPL, took his wicketsâ€™ tally to 10 in three matches in the tournament. Hosts MP could manage to score just 39 runs in the last five overs and lost five wickets.
Vidarbha had lost by three wickets in the opener against Rajasthan on January 11 and on Wednesday the former Ranji Trophy champions lost by 79 runs against Saurashtra.
Madhya Pradesh 136 for 9 in 20 overs (Rajat Patidar 50, Rakesh Thakur 32, Rishabh Chouhan 15 not out, Venkatesh Iyer 14; Yash Thakur 3-25, Darshan Nalkande 2-27, Aditya Thakare 1-19, Mohit Raut 1-8) beat Vidarbha 115 for 9 in 20 overs (Siddhesh Wath 26, Darshan Nalkande 21, Atharva Taide 15, Mohit Raut 12, Apoorv Wankhade 12, Yash Thakur 9 not out; Avesh Khan 5-17, Ankit Sharma 2-21, Mihir Hirwani 1-15) by 21 runs.