Veterans Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh dug deep into their reservoir of experience as star-studded Punjab held their nerves to pip Karnataka via eliminator in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy Super League round on Sunday. In the day's second match at the Jadavpur University second campus ground, Virat Singh's sterling 81 off 49 balls (3x6s, 6x4s) went in vain, as Jharkhand faltered while chasing 171 to pave the way for Mumbai's 13-run win.
With the scores tied while chasing 159, Punjab scored 15 runs in the one-over eliminator with Yuvraj hitting a boundary and Mandeep Singh smacking K Gowtham for a six.
In reply, Karnataka managed just 11 runs with Siddarth Kaul keeping his cool while bowling the super over for Punjab.
Yuvraj was at his vintage best while fielding at square leg region and took two stunning catches to help dismissed Stuart Binny (2) and CM Gautam (36) in one over.
Yuvraj leaked 17 runs while bowling, with Gautam (36 from 31 balls) hitting him for two sixes and one boundary in the 13th over.
But the out-of-favour India southpaw made it up for his bowling profligacy when he ran to deep square leg to take a one-handed diving catch. He also took another catch diving forward.
Earlier, chasing a modest 159 after opting to bowl, Punjab were in control with opener Mandeep Singh laying the foundation with a 29-ball 45 (7x4s, 1x6).
Promoting himself at No 3, Harbhajan struck 33 from 19 balls (5x4s, 1x6) while Yuvraj's 29 off 25 balls had five boundaries including a regal cover drive.
This was after the Punjab skipper bowled another economical spell, finishing with 1 for 21 in 4 overs. But Sreenath Aravind (4/32) swung the match in Karnataka's favour with successive wickets in the 16th over.
Yuvraj edged one to the keeper while in the next ball Abhishek Gupta was also dismissed, edging one to the keeper Gautam, as Punjab required 31 off 26 balls. Sharad Lumba (20 off 17 balls) kept them in the hunt as 14 runs were needed off the last two overs.
Karnataka once again brightened their prospects after Lumba was out stumped off Pravin Dubey, while Kaul was run out in the last over.
But a boundary off the penultimate ball followed by a two by Sandeep Sharma tied the scores to take the match into the Super Over.
Put in, Karnataka began on a sedate note to reach 62/3 in 10 overs, as Punjab took wickets in regular intervals with the pace duo of Baltej Singh and Manpreet Singh Gony sharing five wickets between them.
Gony was at his tidy best with brilliant figures of 4-2- 8-2, while Baltej Singh claimed 3/21. Aniruddha Joshi smashed an unbeaten 40 off 19 balls to prop up the total.
Joshi clobbered Siddharth Kaul for a six and two fours and in the last over, he continued his assault and hit Sandeep Sharma for successive boundaries. Veteran R Vinay Kumar finished their innings with a six as Karnataka scored 96 runs in the last 10 overs.
Karnataka 158/7; 20 overs (Aniruddha Joshi 40, C M Gaut am 36; Baltej Singh 3/21, Manpreet Singh Gony 2/8) tied with Punjab 158/9; 20 overs (Mandeep Singh 45, Harbhajan Singh 33, Yuvraj Singh 29; Sreenath Aravind 4/32). Punjab won in one- over eliminator.
Mumbai 170/5; 20 overs (Siddhesh Lad 46, Aditya Tare 45, Suryakumar Yadav 33 not out) beat Jharkhand 157/7; 20 overs (Virat Singh 81, Saurabh Tiwary 32) by 13 runs.
(With PTI Inputs)