Riding on Shivam Dube’s counter-attacking knock (83 n.o., 78b, 3x4, 5x6) alongside fifties from Kathan Patel (63 off 85) and Harvik Desai (56 off 70), West Zone registered a resounding six-wicket win over North Zone in the round four clash of the Deodhar Trophy at Siechem Stadium here on Sunday.
West also simplified its qualification scenario by knocking North out of the tournament. Priyank Panchal’s team will now have its sights set on a win over East Zone in the virtual semifinals in round five, paving its way to the summit clash against South Zone.
Chasing a tricky target of 260, West suffered a familiar jolt in the middle order.
Captain Panchal and Rahul Tripathi were sent back by pacers Rishi Dhawan and Mayank Yadav, respectively, which left West stranded on 49 for two by the 11th over.
Skipper Nitish Rana then removed set batter Samarth Vyas on 25 in the 19th over to put North in total control.
Adding to West’s chasing woes, Himanshu Rana capitalised on the mix-up between Dube and Desai to send the latter back with a runout.
Nevertheless, what followed for North was a gritty response from Dube and Patel as the duo stitched a 138-run partnership for the fifth wicket, leading West to a win with seven balls in hand.
While Dube charged the spinners in the middle overs, using the long levers to demonstrate his sheer power by clearing fences with ease, Patel kept the tempo up with a vital knock.
Earlier in the day, North reached a fighting total after electing to bat first on a dry surface in hot and humid conditions.
Openers Abhishek Sharma and Prabhsimran Singh started cautiously before the latter unleashed his free-flowing stroke-making to cash in on the loose deliveries, collecting five boundaries in the first six overs.
While Abhishek looked patchy, Prabhsimran failed to convert a good start, perishing on 26 in the eighth over while trying to clear the infield off Rajvardhan Hangargekar.
Himanshu, batting at three, started the rebuilding process quickly, putting on a fifty-run stand for the third wicket with Abhishek. Himanshu dominated the run-scoring load before Shams Mulani ended Abhishek’s sluggish 53-ball 29 in the 18th over.
Himanshu then continued with skipper Nitish and scored a half-century before Panchal’s punt of bringing the part-timer, Sarfaraz Khan, worked in favour of West. Sarfaraz removed Himanshu in his first over to end the 49-run stand.
Mulani further dented North’s hopes of posting a big total with two quick wickets. Desai’s quick glovework sent Mandeep Singh back on 13 while Nitish departed on 54 as the Mumbai spinner registered impressive figures of 10-0-29-3.
However, with Shubham Rohilla’s counter-attacking knock of 56 down the order, alongside valuable contributions from Nishant Sindhu and Rishi Dhawan, North posted a competitive total on the board but it proved insufficient.
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