These days, even a total around 300 runs is not considered “safe” by the team setting a target. No wonder, the North Zone camp went thorough several anxious moments as Central paced its chase well until Parvinder Awana’s two spells made the decisive difference in their Deodhar Trophy semifinal here.
On Monday, North will look to repeat its last year’s triumph over West to complete a hat-trick of titles.
Awana, the tirelessly-working Delhi medium pacer took four of his six wickets when Central was looking to accelerate and helped North score a 22–run triumph. Both teams had three half-centurions on this day when Awana’s effort stood out.
In batting-friendly conditions at the HPCA Stadium here, the Central looked on course in chase of 289. But the loss of two wickets for 25 runs in the batting power-play made the Central middle-order batsmen a touch desperate and they targeted Awana’s mix of short-pitched and slower ones. Eventually, it was Awana who had the last laugh.
Earlier, Services’ Yashpal Singh and Himachal Pradesh’s Paras Dogra emerged as the unlikely pillars on which North raised 289 for eight after being put into bat.
If Dogra found Mandeep Singh’s company during their innings-building third-wicket stand of 104 runs, Yashpal prospered with the seasoned Rajat Bhatia and raised 79 runs for the fifth wicket.
Yashpal scored 83 runs, including 25 runs – dotted with two sixes and three boundaries – off the 49th over bowled by Umesh Yadav. In all, Yashpal smashed three sixes and eight boundaries during his 70-ball innings that ended when he became the first of the three victims in the 50th over, bowled by Shailendra Gehlot.
If the last 10 overs produced 94 runs, Yashpal’s assault had much to do with it.
Bhatia, bowled round the legs by Piyush Chawla, too, smashed three sixes besides two boundaries in his 40 runs. He fell in trying to slog the leg-spinner.
In the middle overs, Dogra and Mandeep tormented Central. If Dogra missed a century, he only had himself to blame. In the first over of batting power-play, Dogra holed out to only fielder at the fence - Robin Bist at deep mid-wicket.
Mandeep, who completed a well-deserved half century, fell to a brilliant effort by wicketkeeper Urvesh Patel. A replacement for an indisposed Naman Ojha, Patel ran and dived full length to complete the catch at short leg.
North Zone: Nitin Saini c Kaif b Bhuvneshwar 0, Shikhar Dhawan ct Urvesh b Bhuvanesh 7, Mandeep Singh c Urvesh b Saxena 53, Paras Dogra c Bist b Umesh Yadav 71, Yashpal Singh c Birla b Gehlot 83, Rajat Bhatia b Chawla 40, Harbhajan Singh (not out) 15, Bipul Sharma c Bist b Gehlot 0, Rishi Dhawan c Kaif b Gehlot 0, Extras (lb-2, w-18) 20, Total (for eight wickets in 50 overs) 289.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-28, 3-132, 4-163, 5-242, 6-288, 7-288, 8-289.
Central bowling: Bhuveshwar Kumar 10-0-45-2, Shailendra Gehlot 10-0-59-3, Umesh Yadav 10-0-68-1, Piyush Chawla 10-053-1, Jalaj Saxena 5-0-28-1, Ashish Yadav 5-0-34-0.
Central Zone: Bhuvneshwar Kumar c Awana b Bipul Sharma 51, Jalaj Saxena c Dhawan b Awana 20, Mohammad Kaif c Dogra b Awana 60, Ashok Maneria c Dogra b Dhawan 51, Robin Bist c Bhatia b Awana 11, Udit Birla c Mandeep b Awana 30, Piyush Chawla c Yashpal b Awana 5, Ashish Yadav (not out) 24, Urvesh Patel c Dhawan b Awana 0, Umesh Yadav c Mandeep b Dhawan 1, Shailendra Gehlot (not out) 3, Extras (lb-4, w-7) 11, Total (for nine wickets in 50 overs) 267.
Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-107, 3-169, 4-191, 5-201, 6-234, 7-244, 8-245, 9-254.
North bowling: Manpreet Gony 10-0-46-0, Rishi Dhawan 10-1-52-2, Parvinder Awana 10-1-49-6, Harbhajan Singh 9-0-51-0, Bipul Sharma 4-0-25-1, Rajat Bhatia 7-0-40-0.
Keywords: Deodhar Trophy