West Zone scored an emphatic seven-wicket victory over title contenders and defending champions North in the All Star Series for Deodhar Trophy at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.
Amol Muzumdar’s men, with their second successive win with a bonus point and third straight victory, have tightened their grip on the title. West have 14 points from three games.
West bowlers did well to restrict North to 252 for six in 50 overs and then had to meet the target inside 40 overs for a bonus point. They did so in just 35.2 overs with Baroda all-rounder Yusuf Pathan making mincemeat of the North bowlers. Pathan scored a 58-ball 68 with 11 fours to set up a comfortable victory.
West sent perfectionist Wasim Jaffer to open with the unorthodox, hard-hitter Yusuf Pathan. Pathan unsettled the new ball bowlers, Ashish Nehra and VRV Singh right from the start with cuts and pulls over the infield. The lanky right-hander was lucky thrice. On 25, he blindly hit VRV Singh high but could not clear the infield.
A comedy of errors resulted as Paras Dogra (from point) and Vipul Sharma (from extra cover) ran for the catch, with neither going for it in the end as the ball dropped between them. Pathan continued his assault regardless.
When on 58, Gautam Gambhir grassed one at mid-wicket off off-spinner Sarandeep Singh, and on 64, Gambhir’s sliding take at mid-on off Sarandeep was withheld by the third umpire as he had taken it off the ground.
However, Sarandeep had the last laugh as Pathan hit straight back to the bowler for a return catch.
Pathan shared 135 for the first wicket with Jaffer in 18.4 overs and the writing was on the wall for North, who were below average with their fielding.
Earlier, North won the toss and decided to bat. However, they did not click with the bat as West, led by off-spinner Ramesh Powar, removed North’s first five for 90 including the dangerous Gautam Gambhir and captain Dinesh Mongia.
Brief Scores: North Zone: 252 for 6 in 50 overs (Dinesh Mongia 41, Pankaj Dharmani not out 77, Vipul Sharma not out 56; Rakesh Patel 1 for 56, Sidharth Trivedi 1 for 51, Ramesh Powar 2 for 40, Avishek Nayar 1 for 36, Sairaj Bahutule 1 for 33)
West Zone: 253 for 3 in 35.2 overs (Wasim Jaffer run out 63, Yousuf Pathan 68, Ramesh Powar 40; VRV Singh 1 for 58, Sarandeep Singh 1 for 16).