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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Mushtaq Ali T20: Central upset star-studded North; East down South

Mushtaq Ali T20: Central upset star-studded North; East down South

February 15, 2017 19:55 IST

Ishank Jaggi

IMAGE: Ishank Jaggi of East Zone hits out. Photograph: PTI

Central Zone upstaged star-studded North Zone by four runs in a close match to remain in the hunt for the title in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Inter Zonal League at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, on Wednesday.

Central, put in to bat, posted a competitive 167 for seven in their 20 overs before they restricted North, who at one stage threatened to reach the target when Yuvraj Singh (33 in 20 balls with four sixes) lashed three sixes in the 18th over, at 163 for six.

It was Central's second victory in three games while they dumped their rivals to their second defeat in three games.

In the first game of the day, East Zone drubbed South Zone by six wickets with two balls to spare to notch their second win in as many matches.

East powered past the target of 179, set by South, courtesy of a whirlwind knock of 90 in 51 balls by Ishank Jaggi who smacked the listless rival bowling attack to strike four sixes and 11 fours.

East have two more games in hand in the league while the other four teams have one each going into the last two days of the tournament with matches scheduled on Thursday and Saturday. The team which finishes top of the standings will be declared as the winners of the inter zonal T20 tournament.

In the afternoon's North vs Central match, leggie Karn Sharma emerged the bowling hero for Central by packing off openers Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan and rival captain Harbhajan Singh, who promoted himself to one-down, to leave North in trouble.

And when the young Rishabh Pant too departed at 90 in the 14th over, things appeared uphill for North and it did too as the side needed 52 in the last 18 balls when Yuvraj staged one of his now patented leg-side attacks and the bowler to suffer was left arm pacer Aniket Chaudhary.

Three balls disappeared over the ropes out of four bowled by Chaudhary, between mid-wicket and square leg, before the bowler had the last laugh as he had the left-handed stalwart caught in the same area off the last ball.

Tall Manpreet Singh Grewal (formerly Gony) used the long handle when 31 were needed off the last two overs but his efforts, including successive sixes off the last two balls, were not enough to overtake the Central score.

Mahesh Rawat

IMAGE:
Mahesh Rawat of Central Zone hits out. Photograph: PTI

In the Central innings, captain and wicket keeper Naman Ojha played sensibly to make 48 off 34 balls while Mahesh Rawat remained unconquered on 57 in 40 balls to help the team recover from 40 for three.

Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh grabbed three and two wickets respectively.

Earlier in the day, Jharkhand batsman Jaggi, caught off a no-ball off Vijay Shankar which was decided through television replay when on 39, played the match-winning knock after having made 51 not out against Central in the previous game.

Jaggi, who is not among the list of players circulated to the franchises for Indian Premier League Players' Auction on February 20 in Bengaluru, could not have responded to the snub in a better manner.

Coming to the crease after the early departure of the highly rated Ishan Kishan, the 28-year-old Jaggi forged stands of 64 for the second wicket with Shreevats Goswami (25) and 81 in only seven overs with big-hitting left-hander Saurabh Tiwary, who made 33 in 23 balls.

The duo were dismissed in close proximity but not before placing East well in sight of the victory target. Left arm pacer Sreenath Aravind gave away 21 runs in the 15th over to this duo who hit a six each and two fours in that over that virtually ended South's hopes.

Batting first, South had one big partnership to thank for in making a challenging score of 178 for six.

Opener Mayank Agarwal, who slammed 72 in just 36 balls with three sixes and nine fours, provided the early momentum with captain R Vinay Kumar (68 in 47 balls), who came in at No. 3 in a surprise move.

The Karnataka duo stitched a second wicket stand of 112 to put South in a good position to reach 200.

But, South lost their way after Agarwal was sent back by rival captain Manoj Tiwary who also accounted for Vinay Kumar and fell short of what they were well-poised for. East skipper Tiwary finished with three for 31.

Scores:

South Zone 178 for 6 (M Agarwal 72, R Vinay Kumar 68; Manoj Tiwary 3 for 31) lost to East Zone 181 for 4 in 19.4 overs (I Jaggi 90, Saurabh Tiwary 33).

Central Zone 167 for 7 (N Ojha 48, M Rawat 57 not out; A Nehra 3 for 26, Harbhajan Singh 2 for 35) beat North Zone 163 for 6 (S Dhawan 37, Yuvraj Singh 33; Manpreet Grewal 23 not out; Karn Sharma 3 for 17).

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