East Zone are the 2017 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy winners after they remained undefeated in all the four games as they eased past West Zone today with a comfortable 8-wicket victory with 38 balls to spare. North Zone, who were led by veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, finished their quota of 4 matches with just 4 points.
But West Zone had a chance to seal the second place given that they possess a better net run rate than Central Zone and South Zone, who play each other in a dead rubber. The on-going match between South Zone and Central Zone will not have any impact on the top position except that the winner of the match will finish the tournament with second place.
Match report: East Zone vs West Zone, Mumbai
Former Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper K.B. Arun Karthik, who represents Assam in the Ranji Trophy, is the captain of the East Zone for this year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. Karthik won the coin toss in all the three fixtures and called the right side of the coin for the fourth successive time in the series.
He opted to field first on a good Wankhede wicket. His team had put up three impressive performances before this game and were poised to clinch the title after maintaining the top spot along with an outstanding net run rate.
West Zone openers Parthiv Patel and Sheldon Jackson had a brisk start before East Zone struck twice in the space of four deliveries to put the brakes on the scoring. Deepak Hooda, who has enjoyed a good T20 season this year could not repeat any of his boundary-laden knocks. In the last game for West Zone, he could manage only 19 off 18 balls before his timber was disturbed by medium pacer Sayan Ghosh.
Sheldon Jackson then anchored the West Zone innings and brought up a watchful fifty in 43 balls. He departed the very next ball after attempting a big heave on the leg side. Then, Gujarat all-rounder Rujul Bhatt scored a quick-fire 36 off 20 balls to lead West Zone to a modest total 149 for the loss of 6 wickets in 20 overs.
In reply, East Zone were off to a blazing start. In the first 5 overs of the powerplay, skipper Arun Karthik along with Jharkhand batsmen Virat Singh added 55 runs. The skipper thumped a six off the first ball of the sixth over before departing the succeeding delivery after attempting to continue his aggressive style of play. Virat Singh continued to score at a haemorrhaging rate as he brought up his fifty in just 24 balls with a huge hit.
His partner Ishank Jaggi who was drafted into the IPL auction pool today after a string of impressive knocks in the T20 season continued the same form as he amassed 6 sixes and 3 boundaries in his knock of 56. The fiery Jaggi brought up his fifty with a six over mid-wicket in just the 27th ball he faced in the innings.
Jaggi departed with just 9 runs required for victory. Manoj Tiwari who walked in at No. 4 ensured that the East Zone were victorious without any more loss of wickets. Jaggi is currently in the top spot of run-scorers in the tournament with 204 runs to his name in the four matches he has featured. In the top wicket takers of the tournament, Pritam Das and Sayan Ghosh of East Zone are tied at the top with 6 wickets each.
The win was celebrated all across the state associations in the east, with Cricket Association of Bengal joint secretary Abhishek Dalmiya stating,”Congratulations to the East Zone Team for winning the Syed Mushtaq Ali Inter Zonal Tournament convincingly.”
“Moreover, many congratulations to Captain Shri Manoj Tiwary for playing superbly throughout the tournament and for leading from the front. Even prior to the inter-zonal stage, he had led the Bengal Squad to emerge as Zonal Champions in the Zonal League.”
“We at The Cricket Association of Bengal are happy with the performance of our boys and acknowledge their efforts. We would further like to thank Shri Arup Bhattacharya for his help and support as the manager of the winning squad.”
“However, last but not the least, we should also not forget the contribution of all the Selectors and Shri Sourav Ganguly, who was the convener of the Zonal Selection Committee Meeting that was held in Kolkata. After all, the team selected by them emerged undefeated in the tournament.”Published 18 Feb 2017, 13:31 IST