Rinku's half-century goes in vain as East records easy six-wicket win vs Central
Bengal bowlers Akash Deep and Shahbaz Ahmed kept a tight leash on Central Zone with three wickets apiece as East Zone cantered to a six-wicket victory in a round robin league game of the Deodhar Trophy in Puducherry, on Monday.
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz (3/30 in 10 overs) and pacer Akash (3/35 in 10 overs) were both parsimonious while getting breakthroughs at regular intervals to bowl out Central for 207 in 50 overs.
Only Rinku Singh, who recently earned his maiden call-up to national team for Asian Games, looked in good nick, scoring 54 off 63 balls on a track that wasn't conducive for stroke-play.
In reply, East were never in a tearing hurry as they exacted a sweet revenge for their Duleep Trophy loss, by surpassing the target in 46.1 overs.
Left-handed opener Utkarsh Singh anchored the chase with a well-compiled 89 off 104 balls and a 91-run opening stand with the experienced Abhimanyu Easwaran (38 off 55 balls) put them on course for victory.
With literally no scoreboard pressure, East batters didn't take much risk even though Utkarsh had 11 fours and three sixes to his credit.
But it was the bowlers, who set it up nicely on a track where the ball occasionally stopped while coming on to the bat.
It didn't help when one of the openers Aryan Juyal (39 not out) had to retire hurt during the first Powerplay before Shahbaz's wicket-to-wicket bowling didn't allow the Central batters to get away.
Even Rinku couldn't really play big shots as he concentrated on singles and had only two sixes -- one each off left-arm spinner Avinav Choudhary and off-spinner Utkarsh. Once Mani Shankar Mura Singh (3 wickets) got Rinku, the last four wickets fell for only 31 runs.
Brief Scores: Central Zone 207 in 50 overs (Rinku Singh 54 off 63 balls, Aksh Deep 3/35, Shahbaz Ahmed 3/30). East Zone 208/4 in 46.1 overs (Utkarsh Singh 89, Karn Sharma 3/35). PTI KHS KHS
Panchal's unbeaten 99 takes West Zone comfortably past North East
Skipper Priyank Panchal smashed an unbeaten 99 off 69 balls as West Zone coasted to a comfortable nine-wicket victory over North East in an opening round-robin league match of the Deodhar Trophy in Puducherry, on Monday.
The Gujarat right hander, normally known for his patient approach in red ball format, hit as many as seven sixes and an equal number of boundaries in West Zone's emphatic 208-run chase in just 25.1 overs.
His opening partner Harvik Desai (85 off 71 balls) was equally attacking with 14 boundaries coming off his blazing blade during the 167-run opening stand in only 21.1 overs.
While Panchal's boundaries primarily came square of the wicket, half a dozen of his seven sixes in the arc between deep mid-wicket and long-on. The worst sufferer was left-arm spinner Imliwati Lemtur (0/47 in 4 overs), who was hit for three sixes.
However the win was set up by a collective bowling effort from West Zone bowlers with Nagwaswalla (3/31 in 7 overs) and seasoned Mumbai left-arm spinner Shams Mulani (2/37 in 10 overs) doing bulk of the damage. North East were all-out for 207 in just 47 overs.
After being put into bat, North East lost opener Anup Ahlawat (6) early in the third over to pacer left-arm seamer Arzan Nagwaswalla.
Fellow opener Nilesh Lamichaney (22) and Jehu Anderson (24) added 40 runs for the second wicket before the former fell to medium-pacer Atit Sheth in the 12th over.
The incoming batters struggled to build a solid partnership and North East were left tottering at 104 for 5 by the 28th over with skipper Langlonyamba Keishangbam (30) departing to pacer Shivam Dube.
By the 36th over, the side was reeling at 144 for 7 before Larry Sangma (16) and Lemtur (38) contributed to a brief 49-run stand for the eighth wicket.
The partnership was broken by medium-pacer Chintan Gaja in the 46th, while eventually, the team was bundled for 207 by the 47th over, with Lemtur being the top scorer, having struck five fours and a six.
Brief scores: North East 207 in 47 overs (Lemtur - 38; Nagwaswalla - 3/31) lost to West Zone 208/1 in 25.1 overs (Desai - 85, Panchal - 99*; Yong Lepcha - 1/29) by nine wickets.