Central edge past North by 4 runs in Mushtaq Ali T20

East Zone have now become firm favourites to clinch the Inter-Zonal Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament being played here.

West, North and South are out of contention for the title.

While Chama Milind was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, it was a disciplined effort by South Zone who kept things tight to hold the opposition to the below-par total.

Deepak Hooda (32) tried to provide some momentum as he struck two sixes and a boundary in his 21-ball knock, but the 31-run partnership between him and Rujul Bhatt (8) came to a drastic end as he tried to go for a fancy reverse-sweep, missed it and was stumped by Parthiv. A late cameo by Irfan Pathan (26 off 17), however helped West Zone's cause as he hammered Milind for 14 runs in the last over.

Riding on skipper Naman Ojha's 48 and Railways batsman Manish Rawat's unbeaten half century (57 off 40 balls), Central Zone made 167/7 after being sent in to bat - they later restricted North Zone to 163/6.

Chasing 141 to win, Vishnu Vinod and Mayank Agarwal got their team off to a flying start as they put on 48 runs for the opening wicket in just 5 overs before veteran Pravin Tambe dismissed Vishnu for a 20-ball 36. Ojha and Verma picked up 3 wickets conceding 11 runs in the next 14 balls and reduced North Zone to 117/7 in the 16th over.

Yuvraj Singh stepped on the accelerator after the fall of Chand's wicket before he was foxed by a googly from Amit Verma and departed for a 24-ball 38, a knock that included 4 sixes.

North Zone: Shikhar Dhawan c Goswami b Das 20, Gautam Gambhir c S. Tiwary b Ghosh 20, Unmukt Chand c S. Tiwary b Ojha 20, Yuvraj Singh c Goswami b Verma 38, Milind Kumar c Ghosh b Ojha 4, Parveez Rasoon hit wkt. b Verma 0, Manan Sharma lbw b Ghosh 18, Harbhajan Singh b Ojha 1, Pradeep Sanghwan c Jaggi b Das 21, Mohit Sharma (not out) 3, Umar Nazir (not out) 0, Extras (b-1, w-13): 14, Total (for nine wkts.in 20 overs): 159.

Chasing 160, Tiwary (75*) and Virat (74*) guide East to a comfortable win with an undefeated 149-run third wicket stand.

Brief Scores: South Zone 178/6 (Mayank Agarwal 72, R. Vinay Kumar 68, Manoj Tiwary 3/31) lose to East Zone 181/4 (Ishank Jaggi 90, Saurabh Tiwary 33, Shreevats Goswami 25, Vijay Shankar 1/18) by six wickets.



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