With victory well in sight after staging a superb recovery, Maharashtra lost their way at the crucial stage, suffering a five-run defeat at the hands of Gujarat in the Twenty20 West Zone Cricket Tournament in Mumbai on Tuesday.
In pursuit of Gujarat`s demanding total of 196 for 3, Maharashtra needed nine off the final over bowled by Niraj Patel. But they wilted under pressure, losing two wickets, and ended with 191 for 7.
Recovering from a precarious position of 38 for 4, Maharashtra came back strongly through brilliant half-centuries from Yogesh Takawale (89) and captain Sairaj Bahutule (64), who added 149 runs for the fifth wicket.
However, when the duo had completely shifted the momentum and were on the path to victory, the balance again slightly shifted in the penultimate over, which saw just three runs being scored and the vital wicket of Bahutule falling.
Earlier in the day, Gujarat batting first after winning the toss and produced solid results after the openers set up things superbly with a 86-run stand.
Subsequently fine unbeaten knocks from Niraj Patel (45) and Vishwajeet Solanki (50) propelled them to the impressive score.
The proceedings witnessed in the second match was a stark contrast to the opener in which hosts Mumbai gained a resounding eight-wicket victory over Baroda.
In their second match, Gujarat will meet Mumbai tomorrow at the Brabourne stadium while Saurashtra commence their campaign against Maharashtra in the morning session.