South to meet East in must-win game

Ross Houston
February 17, 2017

Mumbai: Skipper Manoj Tiwary and young opener Virat Singh's unbeaten century stand helped East Zone thrash a star-studded North by eight wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 cricket tie at the Wankhede Stadium here on Thursday.

It was East's third straight win and hence it is nearly assured of the title with a superior net run-rate (+1.185). After three matches East Zone tops the chart with all wins and it faces West Zone on February 18.

The net run-rate will come into play only in the event of East losing to West and Central losing to South.

Brief Scores: Central Zone 167/7 (Manish Rawat 57 not out, Naman Ojha 48, Ashish Nehra 3/26, Harbhajan Singh 2/35) beat North Zone 163/6 (Shikhar Dhawan 37, Yuvraj Singh 33, Rishabh Pant 25, Karn Sharma 3/17) by four runs. However, his dismissal in the 14th over triggered a collapse, with North Zone losing three more wickets within the next 14 balls. Verma then had Parvez Rasoom "hit-wicket" and thereafter the North innings declined to a modest total of 159 on a good batting track.

Earlier, North rode on Punjab southpaw Yuvraj Singh's 24-ball 38 and cameos from Sangwan (21), Shikhar Dhawan (20), Gautam Gambhir (20) to post 159-9 after put into bat.

Left-hand seamer Pradeep Sangwan struck of the very first ball of the East chase when left-hander Shreevats Goswami followed a ball outside the off stump and nicked it to wicket-keeper Chand. He took on the attack at will, kept rotating the strikes as wickets tumbled at the other end, and hit a few copybook cover drives and pulls to take the game away. But an initially circumspect Virat and Tiwary dominated the proceedings thereafter to take their team to a memorable win.

Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-47, 3-85, 4-106, 5-106, 6-114, 7-117, 8-146, 9-158.

For East, Odisha born India spinner Prgayan Ojha who is now playing for Bengal Ranji Team took 3 wickets while Amit Verma, Shayan Ghosh and Pritam Das scalped 2 wickets each. For South Zone, Chama Milind picked up 3 wickets while Rahil, Ashwin and Vijay ended with 2 wickets apiece.

The duo joined forced with the East zone struggling at 13 for 2 after pacers Pradeep Sangwan and Umar Nazir packed back Goswami and Jaggi cheaply.

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