Irfan Pathan produced a gem of a spell (3/10) to run through the North Zone top-order as his side cruised to their first victory of the revamped Syed Mushtaq Ali Inter Zonal tournament, crushing North Zone by eight wickets, here at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday.
Led by Pathan who sent back the dangerous Shikhar Dhawan (3), Rishabh Pant (2) and Yuvraj Singh (0) within a span of 14 deliveries, West Zone bowlers were a disciplined lot as the opposition could only manage to put up 107 in the stipulated overs.
The only solace for the side packed with players with international experience was Gautam Gambhir’s (60) measured knock, which helped them cross the 100-mark. Gambhir hit four boundaries and a six in his 59-ball knock to pick up his second consecutive half-century in the tournament after his flamboyant 81 had helped his side beat South Zone on Sunday.
Opting to field first after winning the toss, West Zone couldn’t have had a better start than the one provided by Pathan who bowled 16 dots in his four overs to keep things tight. Apart from their bowlers playing their part, they put up an inspired show on the field as well, saving a couple of boundaries besides picking up two run-outs through direct-hits.
When they came on to bat, Parthiv Patel (56) and Shreyas Iyer (30) got them to a flying start with Sangwan being hammered for 26 in his two overs as they stitched 80 runs for the first wicket. They were at 60 for no loss at the end of the powerplay. Iyer played some classic shots, including two upper cuts and a few drives that pierced through the cover region while Parthiv hit nine boundaries and took charge if and when required, hitting nine boundaries.
Iyer was trapped in front by Parvez Rasool, but the decision seemed to be a bit controversial as the Mumbai batsman had come down a long way down the track while trying to go for a big one. A couple of deliveries later, Parthiv picked up his half-century with a single down to long-on before being cleaned up by Mohit Sharma in the 12th over. Aditya Tare then made short work of the chase, cracking three shots to the fence to bring up the victory in fine fashion.
Brief scores: North Zone 107/8 (20 ov), West Zone 108/2 (12.4/20 ov)
East Zone thrash Central Zone
Riding on Ishan Kishan’s quickfire half-century, East Zone thrashed Central Zone by seven wickets to pick up their first victory of the revamped Syed Mushtaq Ali Inter Zonal tournament.
Ishan, who scored 67 off just 36 balls, was well assisted by Ishank Jaggi (51 off 37 balls) as they helped their side chase down Central Zone’s total of 151 with 17 balls to spare.