Despite Gautam Gambhir’s second fifty in as many matches in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, North Zone lost convincingly while Indian U-19 star Ishan Kishan helped East Zone begin their campaign with a victory.
North Zone vs West Zone
After winning their opening game convincingly on the back of fifties from openers Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir, North Zone was unable to continue their winning start as Irfan Pathan's three-wicket haul and Parthiv Patel's fifty helped West Zone win by eight wickets with 7.2 overs to spare.
On a good batting wicket, Parthiv’s decision to win the toss and bowl first was proved right by Irfan Pathan who picked up the wickets of three Indian internationals in the space of eight balls to leave North Zone reeling. First, it was Shikhar Dhawan, who edged behind then Rishabh Pant and Yuvraj Singh were dismissed off successive balls, the latter for a golden duck.
North Zone never quite recovered from that and even lost another wicket before the end of the powerplay. Despite Gambhir’s composed fifty, Harbhajan Singh's side just kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
By the end of the 11th over, they had already lost six wickets and only three batsmen crossed double digits as they finished on 107/8 in their 20 overs thanks to Gambhir’s 60. But that was never going to enough, especially after West Zone’s openers got off to a good start.
Shreyas Iyer and Parthiv Patel put on 80 for the opening wicket in just nine overs before Iyer was dismissed for 30. Parthiv went on to complete his fifty and was eventually dismissed for a 35-ball 56 with the target within reach.
There were no more wickets thereafter as Aditya Tare and AR Bhawane knocked off the remaining runs and helped their side win in just 12.4 overs.
Central Zone vs East Zone
For the fourth consecutive time in the series, the captain winning the toss elected to field first and that resulted in a victory. In the second match of the day, East Zone captain Manoj Tiwary got it right as they won their opening game of the tournament by seven wickets with 17 balls to spare.
Central Zone got off to the worst possible start as they lost two wickets inside the first over. Captain Naman Ojha then steadied the ship along with the match-winner from the previous game, Harpreet Singh but the pair could only add 76 runs in 71 balls.
Harpreet Singh was dismissed two short of a fifty, Ojha got his but wasn't able to carry on and make it a big score. That hurt the Central Zone in the end as they ended up with just 151/7 on the board. Ashoke Dinda was the pick of the bowlers courtesy of his 2/24.
In response, East Zone began in a measured manner but then went berserk courtesy of Indian U-19 star Ishan Kishan, who scored a 36-ball 67 that included just one four but seven sixes and got his side within touching distance of the target.
Kishan was eventually dismissed by Mahipal Lomror, who picked up two wickets but it was too little too late, as a fifty from Ishank Jaggi saw East Zone home with the captain Tiwary at the crease with 17 balls to spare and seven wickets in hand.
Courtesy fo their victory, East Zone are now top with a better run-rate than the other three sides on four points and face South Zone, the only team without a win in the tournament, in their next clash.
North Zone 107/9 in 20 overs (Gautam Gambhir 60; Irfan Pathan 3/10) lost to West Zone 108/2 in 12.4 overs (Parthiv Patel 56, Shreyas Iyer 30; Parvez Rasool 1/7) by 8 wickets.
Central Zone 151/7 in 20 overs (Naman Ojha 51, Harpreet Singh 48, Ashoke Dinda 2/24) lost to East Zone 154/3 in 17.1 overs (Ishan Kishan 67, Ishank Jaggi 51*, Mahipal Lomror 2/31) by seven wickets.Published 13 Feb 2017, 16:26 IST