Cricket

East Beat West To Clinch Mushtaq Ali T20 Inter-Zonal Trophy

Mumbai, Feb 18 (IANS) Retaining their unbeaten streak, East Zone clinched the inaugural edition of the revamped Syed Mushtaq Ali Inter-Zonal T20 Trophy after beating West Zone by eight wickets here on Saturday.

Central Zone finished runners-up in the tournament after edging past South Zone in a last-ball thriller at the Wankhede Stadium here.

In the first match of the day, East zone rode on opener Virat Singh and Ishank Jaggi’s half centuries to overhaul West’s target of 150 runs with 38 balls to spare.

While Virat remained unbeaten on a 34-ball 58, with five strokes to the boundary and three over it, Jaggi’s knock was the more aggressive of the two and came off just 30 balls, containing three fours and six maximums.

The duo shared a 80-run second wicket stand to thwart West zone’s hopes before skipper Manoj Tiwary scored a four-ball nine to complete the formalities with young Virat, who had earlier forged 61 runs with Arun Karthik for the opening wicket.

Earlier, riding on opener Sheldon Jackson’s 44-ball 52 and cameos from Rujul Bhatt (36 not out) and Prerak Mankad (20), West scored 149/5 after being sent in to bat.

Assam medium pacer Pritam Das took 2/25 while Suryakant Pradhan, Sayan Ghosh and Pragyan Ozha chipped in with one wicket each.

In the other match of the day, the Central zone rode on Harpreet Singh’s brilliant 51-ball 92 to topple South in a nail-biting encounter which went down to the wire.

Cahsing a mammoth 182, the Central zone overcame from the early loss of skipper Naman Ojha (0), with Amandeep Khare (39) and Harpreet putting on 67 runs for the second wicket.

Thereafter, Harpreet kept one end intact despite losing his partners as he went to notch his eighth T20 half ton and take the Central zone near the victory line.

His 31-run stand for the eighth wicket with leg-spinner Amit Mishra (13 not out) was crucial in getting the team near the finish line but medium pacer Rahil Shah managed to get his back with the team needing four runs for a win.

Ankit Rajpoot (5 not out) then joined Mishra to complete the formalities on the last ball of the match.

With the conclusion of the Syed Mushtaq Ali tourney, the focus will now shift to the season-ending Vijay Hazare trophy — the 50-over domestic competition, starting February 25.

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