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Manhas keeps North in title hunt

Mithun Manhas hit a brilliant hundred as North Zone beat South by 74 runs, writes C Shekhar Luthra.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 11:52 IST

The mindset decides it all! South Zone, with nine points from two matches, did not have much at stake in their penultimate league match of the Deodhar Trophy, except the fact that they had to avoid losing with a bonus point. For North, however, it was a do-or-die situation after losing to West.

North had a few problems going into the match. Skipper Dinesh Mongia woke up with a stiff back, while Gautam Gambhir failed to report because of an ENT problem. The responsibility of keeping North afloat came on Mitthun Manhas.

And he did it in style. His unbeaten knock of 122 led North to an emphatic 74-run victory at the MB College ground here on Monda, with a bonus point.

With this win, North climb to second position with 9 points from three matches, while South are on 8 from as many outings. Chasing North's score of 310, South were bundled out for 236 in the 49th over.

The winner will now be decided after completion of the last round matches on March 9 when unbeaten West with 12 points take on South at the same venue. If West win, there will be no chance for others but in case South Zone win, chances of North lifting the trophy would become brighter if they come up with a similar performance against East at Jaipur.

Which may be unlikely, with Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar on duty for West. On Monday, North won the toss and took the field with a completely different approach.

Though the wicket looked almost similar to the one on which they lost the last game, openers Shikhar Dhawan and Sumit Sharma played with a gameplan. Sharma, in particular, looked in command as North amassed 75 runs for the opening stand.

Dhawan was the first to go as he tried to steal a single in front of the covers. His dismissal in the 13th over paved the way for his skipper to take stance. Manhas made his intentions clear right from the beginning by punishing anything pitched around his blade.

This forced South skipper Venugopala Rao to turn to his two left-arm spinners IPS Reddy and Hemang Badani.

But they too disappointed. The only wicket to fall was Sharma, who failed to keep his shot down after contributing a fine 80. It was the turn of North to restrict their opponents below 248 to pick up the bonus point. For the South batsmen, it was only a matter of applying themselves but they failed miserably in their attempt to be all out on 236.

Scoreboard:

North Zone: Dhawan run out 44, Sumit c Vinay b Venugopala 80, Manhas not out 122, Sodhi not out 57. Extras: (w-2, lb-3, nb-2) 7. Total: (For 2 wkts) 310.

FoW: 1-75, 2-166.

Bowling: Vinay Kumar 7-0-46-0, Krishnan 4-0-30-0, Akhil 8-0-58-0, Reddy 10-0-66-0, Badani 10-0-47-0, Venugopala Rao 6-0-30-1, Raghu 3-0-18-0, S’krishnan 2-0-12-0.

South Zone: Uthappa b Gagandeep 10, S’krishnan c Yashpal b Gagandeep 10, Kaarthick b Joginder 0, Venugopala Rao c Dharmani b Joginder 0, Badrinath run out 48, Badani c Manhas b Ishant 25, Raghu run out 37, Suresh run out 5, Akhil c Dharmani b Sodhi 40, Vinay run out 53, Reddy not out 0. Extras: (lb-1, nb-4, w-3) 8. Total: (In 48.2 overs) 236.

FoW: 1-12, 2-14, 3-14, 4-22, 5-67, 6-107, 7-131, 8-145, 9-216.

Bowling: Gagandeep 8-1-37-2, Joginder 9.2-0-42-2, Mishra 10-0-52-0, Ishant 7-0-35-1, Gaurav 8-0-42-0, Sodhi 6-0-27-1.



First Published: Mar 07, 2006 11:52 IST