Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Jaggi dashes South's hopes

Riding on Ishank Jaggi's swashbuckling 90 and useful contributions from opener Shreevats Goswami and Saurabh Tiwary, East Zone had little trouble in overhauling South Zone's 178 for six at the Wankhede Stadium

Ishank Jaggi's breezy knock included a wide array of strokes.   -  PTI

R. Vinay Kumar, the South Zone captain, is a bowler who is no muck with the bat. His East Zone counterpart, Manoj Tiwary, is a batsman who occasionally rolls his arm over. While both captains excelled in their respective department, it was Ishank Jaggi's belligerence (90 off 51 balls) that turned out to be the decisive factor on Wednesday's Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 inter-zonal championship.

Riding on Jaggi's swashbuckling innings and useful contributions from opener Shreevats Goswami and Saurabh Tiwary, East Zone had little trouble in overhauling South Zone's 178 for six at the Wankhede Stadium. The four-wicket win propelled East to the top of the points tally and put a stop to South's ambition of winning the trophy.

Ever since he took guard after Ishan Kishan's dismissal in the second over, Jaggi looked on song. He was excluded from the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction list. But his breezy knock included a wide array of strokes. That he made mincemeat of T20 specialist S. Arvind – scoring 30 runs off the 11 balls he faced from the left-arm pacer – speaks about the form he was in.

Jaggi's knock overshadowed the exploits of Mayank Agarwal and Vinay at the top for South. Agarwal, in full flow, is a treat to watch in white-ball cricket. And the Karnataka opener displayed his wide array of strokes, the lofted square drive over point fence off Ashok Dinda in the opening over being the highlight of his 36-ball 72. Vinay promoted himself to No. 3 and smashed the East bowlers out of the park. He was, however, involved in Dinesh Karthik's run-out.

The dismissals then put a check on South's scoring. With Dinda conceding just eight runs off his last two overs, South could add only 39 runs off the last five overs after being set for a gargantuan total at 139 for three off 15 overs.