Atit Sheth’s calm and collected half-century (53, 53b, 4x4, 2x6) in the midst of distress led West Zone to a one-wicket win over Central Zone in a humdinger of a contest in the Deodhar Trophy at the Siechem stadium here on Friday.
Harvik Desai (57, 86b, 8x4, 2x6) and captain Priyank Panchal gave West Zone a solid start before Central Zone opener Shivam Chaudhary broke the back of its chase with his golden arm.
Karn Sharma, Aditya Sarwate and part-timer Yash Kothari also played their part in the middle-overs choke-hold on a slowing pitch, before Rajvardhan Hangargekar’s whirlwind innings (24, 12b, 1x4, 2x6) coupled with Sheth’s street-smart cricket helped West Zone pull off a heist to secure its second win in the tournament.
Sheth began cautiously, building up a partnership with Shams Mulani as Central Zone captain Venkatesh Iyer attacked relentlessly with spin. Sheth’s maturity and temperament were on display as he stitched a 25-run partnership with number 11 Chintan Gaja to take the team over the line.
Earlier in the day, a late flourish from Shivam Mavi (47 of 39 balls) helped Central Zone to a competitive total, finishing on 243 at the end of its 50-over essay.
Central Zone lost both its openers within the first five overs. Sheth and Hangargekar pinned the batters down in the first PowerPlay, conceding only 18 runs. Sheth’s immaculate line and length meant that he ended his first spell with just four runs conceded in five overs, including three maidens.
Yash Dubey and Upendra Yadav fought back by putting up a 50-run stand, with the pair going after left-arm spinner Shams Mulani to give the innings the necessary impetus. After Chintan Gaja trapped Yadav in front to break the partnership, skipper Iyer and Dubey put on a 45-run stand before the latter was dismissed one short of a half-century.
Iyer looked in an aggressive mood, running down the track regularly, playing his familiar offensive game before it resulted in his undoing as he perished trying to loft Mulani over mid-wicket.
Mulani also got the wicket of the dangerous Rinku Singh for 15, as Central struggled to unlock a higher gear in its innings. Karn Sharma played a smart knock of 44, adding some quick runs before being runout.
Mavi then displayed a mix of power and precision in the last five overs to provide the final push and ensured that the bowlers had a sizeable target to defend.
- AFC Cup 2023-24: Bashundhara Kings gets VISA for match against Mohun Bagan Super Giant in India
- India vs New Zealand Live Score, World Cup 2023: IND 246/5 (44.2); Kohli, Jadeja keep run-chase on track vs NZ
- Monfils reclaims Stockholm Open title after 12 years, becomes oldest champion in tournament history
- Football fans flock to Old Trafford to pay tribute to Bobby Charlton following his death at 86
- Elise Mertens claims back-to-back Monastir titles