Uttar Pradesh coach BK Venkatesh Prasad had few words to say after his team made a mess of the run chase. His look and silence said it all, how UP threw away a chance to lift a silverware. "I was not there in the middle. I should have been there," he slowly said.
After containing Baroda to 144/7, Uttar Pradesh managed only 141/7 to hand over the West Zone champions a three-run victory and their second title in three years.
UP were cruising along at 116/2 in 16.4 overs when opener Prashant Gupta, who scored the tournament's second hundred this season two days ago, fell for a well-made 68 and shared 98 for the second wicket with Ekalavya Dwivedi.
At this time, UP needed 29 in 20 deliveries with eight wickets in hand. However, in their over-anxiety to hit over the top and clear the fence and finish things in a hurry, UP batsman including Dwivedi, who stroked his way to 56, lost their wickets to left-arm seamer Lukman Meriwala and Munaf Patel as five wickets fell in the space of 14 deliveries for an additional 18 runs. Baroda were particularly aided by some smart catching in the deep by Abhijit Karambelkar, who picked up two of them in pressure situations.
UP needed 11 off the last over with India discard Praveen Kumar on strike. The first three balls bowled by left-arm medium-pacer Rishi Arothe were dot balls, Kumar swinging and missing two of them while playing the other straight back to the bowler. After Kumar took a single off the last delivery to give Upendra Yadav the strike, the batsman smacked Arothe for a six over long on to still keep UP's hopes alive.
A four was needed off the last delivery when Arothe bowled a low full toss that caught the edge of Yadav's bat on way to wicket-keeper Pinal Shah even though the batsman was appealing in vain to the umpire for waist high no ball while the Baroda team began their wild celebrations by jumping and shouting their success.
Earlier, Baroda openers Aditya Waghmode and Kedar Devdhar held the key to their team posting a challenging total as barring Hardik Pandya, their top-order was a little suspect, particular after Yusuf Pathan left for IPL after the West Zone leg.