Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy: Manoj, Virat guide East Zone to victory

Manoj Tiwary played a captain’s knock to steer East Zone to a resounding eight-wicket win against North Zone in the Syed Mushtaq Ali inter-zonal Twenty20 league on Thursday.

Manoj Tiwary East Zone

Manoj Tiwary scored an unbeaten 75 to help East Zone register an easy win.   -  PTI

Two mighty heaves towards mid-wicket by Manoj Tiwary off left-arm spinner Manan Sharma landed close to the barbed fencing late evening at the Wankhede. The consistent Bengal right-hander once again rose to the occasion and played a captain’s knock to steer East Zone to a resounding eight-wicket win against North Zone in the Syed Mushtaq Ali inter-zonal Twenty20 league here on Thursday.

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Tiwary (75 not out, 43b, 5 x 4s, 5 x 6s) and Jharkhand’s Virat Singh (74 not out, 48b, 9 x 4s, 2 x 6s) added 149 runs for the unconquered third wicket in 87 balls to quell North’s challenge. With the third straight win, the East Zone is almost assured of the title as it also possesses a superior net run rate (+1.185).

It will play against West Zone in the penultimate league match of the tournament on Saturday and the Central Zone (NRR of – 0.064) , which has won two out of three games so far, will play South Zone in the last match. The net run rate will come into play only in the event of East losing to West and Central losing to South.

Put in to bat, North could not make the most of the good starts made by Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Unmukt Chand and Yuvraj Singh.

With Yuvraj striking the ball well, North, at 106 for 3 in the middle of the 14th over would have hoped for a total in excess of 180, but leg-spinner Amit Verma got the prize wicket of the Punjab left-hander who had made 38 of 24 balls. Verma then had Parvez Rasoom `hit-wicket’ and thereafter the North innings declined to a modest total of 159 on a good batting track.

Left-hand seamer Pradeep Sangwan struck of the very first ball of the East chase when left-hander Shreevats Goswami followed a ball outside the off stump and nicked it to wicket-keeper Chand. Yuvraj Singh then held a catch at square leg to see the back of Ishank Jaggi and suddenly North felt it was in the game. But an initially circumspect Virat and Tiwary dominated the proceedings thereafter to take their team to a memorable win.