MUMBAI, Feb 15:
Central Zone upstaged star-studded North Zone by four runs in a close match to remain in the hunt for the title in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Inter Zonal League at the Wankhede Stadium here today.
Central, put in to bat, batted reasonably well to score 167 for 7, and then stopped North, who at one stage threatened to reach the target when Yuvraj Singh (33 in 20 balls with four sixes) lashed three sixes in the 18th over, at 163 for 6.
It was Central’s second victory in three games while they dumped their rivals to their second defeat in three.
In the first game of the day, East Zone drubbed South Zone by six wickets with two balls to spare to notch their second win in as many matches.
East were powered past the target of 179, set by South, by a whirlwind knock of 90 in 51 balls by Ishank Jaggi who smacked the listless rival bowling attack to strike four sixes and 11 fours.
East have two more games in hand in the league while the other four teams have one each going into the last two days of the tournament with matches scheduled for tomorrow and on the 18th.
In the afternoon’s North-Central match, leggie Karn Sharma emerged the bowling hero for Central by packing off openers Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan and rival captain Harbhajan Singh, who promoted himself to one-down, that left North in trouble.
And when the young Rishabh Pant too departed at 90 in the 14th over, things appeared uphill for North and it did too as the side needed 52 in the last 18 balls when Yuvraj staged one of his now patented leg-side attacks and the bowler to suffer was left arm pacer Aniket Chaudhary.
Three balls disappeared over the ropes out of four bowled by Chaudhary, between mid-wicket and square leg, before the bowler had the last laugh as he had the left-handed stalwart caught in the same area off the last ball.
Tall Manpreet Singh Grewal (formerly Gony) used the long handle when 31 were needed off the last two overs but his efforts, including successive sixes off the last two balls, were not enough to overtake the Central score.
In the Central innings, captain and wicket keeper Naman Ojha played sensibly to make 48 off 34 balls while Mahesh Rawat remained unconquered on 57 in 40 balls to help the team recover from 40 for 3. (PTI)