Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Central Zone stuns West Zone

Harpeet Singh served a timely reminder to IPL franchises with a match-winning 42-ball 62 (2x4, 4x6) to help Central Zone stun a fancied West Zone in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 championship.

Harpreet Singh proved to be a match winner with a 42-ball 62.   -  V. Ganesan

Harpeet Singh served a timely reminder to IPL franchises with a match-winning 42-ball 62 (2x4, 4x6) to help Central Zone stun a fancied West Zone in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Twenty20 championship.

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The target of 161 at the Wankhede Stadium may not have been herculean but considering the situation he found himself in made it a memorable outing for the Madhya Pradesh left-handed batsman, who has not been a part of the IPL frenzy since 2013.

Coming in to bat at 44 for two, Harpreet played second fiddle to senior Ambati Rayudu. However, once Rayudu was deceived by leggie Pravin Tambe leave Central at 79 for three in the 11th over, it was time for Harpreet to take over.

He switched gears in the 13th over with a straight six off Tambe and the shots kept flowing till he was dismissed with the match all but sealed. The most memorable of his four sixes was the one off Abhishek Nayar – a swing over deep square leg after Nayar tried to follow him down the leg – that fetched him his fifty. Mahesh Rawat, who hung around with Harpeet, then completed the formalities with a six off Shardul Thakur in the penultimate over.

Had Deepak Hooda not ended the West Zone essay with a bang, Central’s task would have been easier. With a fancied top-order floundering, Hooda had an enormous task after taking guard at 61 for five in the 11th over. The Baroda bomber – aided by a dropped catch by Apoorv Wankhede in the deep off leggie Karn Sharma and a bizarre decision by umpire Navdeep Singh when he was struck right in front of the wickets off Ankit Rajpoot – did so as West added 62 runs off the last five overs.

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