East Zone continued their good run in the 2017 Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy as they crushed North Zone by 8 wickets on day 4 of the tournament. With this win, East Zone have won all their three matches and are on the verge of winning the title while North Zone’s tournament came to an end with the Harbhajan Singh-led side managing to win just one out of their four matches.
In the other match of the day, South Zone registered their first win in the tournament by beating West Zone by 5 wickets. Mayank Agarwal, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Singh, Manoj Tiwary and Irfan Pathan were the stars of the show on day 4 of the tournament.
South Zone vs West Zone
After put into bat by South Zone’s stand-in skipper Vijay Shankar, West Zone were off to a decent start before they lost the way in the middle of their innings. After the first 8 overs, West Zone were sitting pretty at 58/1 before the Tamil Nadu duo of leg-spinner M Ashwin and skipper Vijay Shankar struck thrice in quick succession to reduce them to 81/4 just after the 12th over. Deepak Hooda tried to revive the West Zone innings by taking the attack to the opposition and along with Rijul Bhatt, Hooda put on a 31-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
It was when Rahil Shah struck as Hooda tried to reverse sweep the slow left-arm spinner and ended up getting stumped by Dinesh Karthick with his bat hanging in the air. Hyderabad's Chama Milind got South Zone back in control by sending back Rijul and Abhishek Nayar in the next over and reduced them to 118-7. It soon became 123-8 when Vijay Shankar had Shaurya Sanandia caught by M Ashwin at long-on for 1.
A late cameo by Irfan Pathan helped West Zone to reach a decent total of 140/9 after 20 overs. Hooda top-scored for his team with a 21-ball 32 while Irfan remained unbeaten on 26 off just 17 balls. For South Zone, Chama Milind picked up 3 wickets while Rahil, Ashwin and Vijay ended with 2 wickets apiece.
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. Soon after, Vijay Shankar was forced to retire hurt for 2.
Mayank Agarwal continued his good run with the bat as he followed his 36-ball 72 from yesterday's game with a match-winning 70 off 46 balls today. He put on a 66-run partnership for the second wicket with Dinesh Karthick before a flurry of wickets delayed the win for South Zone. Eventually, South Zone crossed the line by 5 wickets with 14 balls to spare.
East Zone vs North Zone
North Zone, after being asked to bat first by East Zone, were off to a great start, courtesy their openers Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir, who scored 20 each before Yuvraj Singh and Unmukt Chand took charge of the proceedings. Chand looked shaky during his stay at the crease and was dismissed by Pragyan Ojha for 20 off 24 balls.
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. 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. Manan Sharma and Pradeep Sangwan scored some crucial runs down the order and took their team to 159, a total that was par on the wicket on which both the teams were playing.
Ojha picked up three wickets conceding 33 runs while Amit Verma, Sayan Ghosh and Pritam Das accounted for 2 each. Chasing 160 to win, East Zone were off to a disastrous start as they lost the wicket of Shreevats Goswami off the very first ball of the innings. Ishank Jaggi followed him to the pavilion soon after and the Manoj Tiwary-led side were reduced to 13/1 in the second over.
Manoj joined opener Virat Singh in the middle and the duo put on an unbeaten 149-run partnership for the third wicket to steer East Zone home with 21 balls to spare. Virat scored an unbeaten 74 off 48 balls with 9 fours and 2 sixes while Manoj was not out on 75 off 43 balls with the help of 5 fours and 5 sixes.
West Zone: 140/9 in 20 overs (Deepak Hooda 32, Irfan Pathan 26*, Chama Milind 3/41, Vijay Shankar 2/21) lost to South Zone 141/5 in 17.4 overs (Mayank Agarwal 70, Vishnu Vinod 36, Irfan Pathan 1/22) by 5 wickets.
North Zone 159/9 in 20 overs (Yuvraj Singh 38, Pradeep Sangwan 21, Pragyan Ojha 3/33, Amit Verma 2/18) lost to East Zone 162/2 in 16.3 overs (Manoj Tiwary 75*, Virat Singh 74*) by 8 wickets.