Steered by Naman Ojha’s unflappable and unbeaten 65 (84b, 7x4; 2x6), Central Zone, riding many ups and downs, strode to victory against East in their Deodhar Trophy quarterfinal cricket match at the Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy stadium here on Sunday.
Chasing East’s 194, Central registered 198 with seven overs to spare. Contributing almost equally to the win was the wily Piyush Chawla’s five for 38.
Central had seemed well on it’s way, till it was racked by three blows with as many runs added. Rahul Shukla forced Shalabh Srivastava to play to Ishank Jaggi at point.
From the other end Laxmi Ratan Shukla with subtle deviation had Mahesh Rawat and Akshdeep Nath castled in the same over.
Mention must also be made of a reflex catch Manoj Tiwary grabbed overhead to send back Jalaj Saxena earlier. Towards the close Ashoke Dinda tormented the eventual winner too.
It took the collective experience of Piyush Chawla and Naman Ojha to stem the rot. Before long the duo stroked freely to wrest the contest back from East.
When things seemed under control, Chawla prodded at an Abu Nechim delivery leaving him to be caught behind. Meanwhile Ojha dug in holding one end up as Karn Sharma opened up at the other.
Ojha reached his half century with a six and lofted another big one in a Man-of-the Match effort that saw his side through.
East chose to bat on a firm track that assisted the seamers, who initially called the shots. After Parvez Aziz’s early exit, caught and bowled Anureet, Jaggi took charge with four fluid boundaries.
Heading back for a second run, he slipped and fell, leaving his partner Shreevats Goswami quite hesitant.
Jalaj Saxena’s throw from the deep cover region left Umesh Yadav with little to do except dislodge the bails as Jaggi departed, glaring at Goswami in disapproval.
The two Tiwarys left in quick succession, Manoj’s thick edge held by stumper M. Rawat off Umesh and Saurabh’s heave off Chawla sailing to long on Saxena.
There was no respite to East’s woes as Goswami, the side’s top scorer until then, played on to his stumps off Saxena. The task of turning things around fell on captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla’s shoulders.
He did his bit, carting his counterpart Chawla to and over the midwicket ropes. His brief charge ended when long off Akshdeep Nath clutched a catch on the run off a lofted off-drive from the Bengal and East zone skipper.
That endeavour epitomised Central Zone’s splendid fielding, several boundary line stops backing a six-stringed attack varied with frequent switching of bowlers ends in short spells.
Nath replicated his act later, running from long on to cow corner to see the end of Dinda and fetch Chawla his fourth wicket. Top scorer Kumar Deobrata’s caught and bowled dismissal crowned Chawla’s fine display marked by guile, turn and bounce.
The score: East Zone: Ishank Jaggi run out 28, Parvez Aziz c & b Anureet Singh 15, Shreevats Goswami b Saxena 32, Manoj Tiwary c Rawat b Umesh 4, Saurabh Tiwary c Saxena b Chawla 11, L.R. Shukla c Akshdeep b Karn 28, Kumar Deobrat c & b Chawla 39, Shahbaz Nadeem c Saxena b Chawla 18, Rahul Shukla c Rawat b Chawla 1, Ashoke Dinda c Akshdeep b Chawla 6, Abu Nechim (not out) 4. Extras: (lb-3, w-5) 8. Total (in 46.2 overs) 194
Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-50, 3-66, 4-87, 5-102, 6-141, 7-170, 8-174, 9-186.
Central bowling: Ishwar Pandey 7-0-38-0, Anureet Singh 6-1-28-1, Umesh Yadav 8-1-35-1, Jalaj Saxena 7-1-22-1, Piyush Chawla 10.2-1-38-5, Karn Sharma 8-0-30-1.
Central Zone: Faiz Fazal c Goswami b Nechim 4, Jalaj Saxena c Tiwary b Nechim 26, Shalab Shrivastava c Jaggi b Rahul Shukla 31, Naman Ojha (not out) 65, Mahesh Rawat b L.R. Shukla 0, Akshdeep Nath b L.R. Shukla 0, Piyush Chawla c (wk) Goswami b Nechim 24, Karn Sharma c (wk) Goswami b Dinda 22, Anureet Singh lbw b Dinda 0, Ishwar Pandey not out 8. Extras (lb-8, nb-1, w-9) 18; Total (for eight wickets in 43 overs) 198.
Fall of wickets: 1-26, 2-45, 3-80, 4-81, 5-82, 6-125, 7-172, 8-172.
East bowling: Ashoke Dinda 11-2-47-2, Abu Nechim 9-2-36-3, Rahul Shukla 7-0-35-1, L.R. Shukla 9-0-32-2, Shahbaz Nadeem 5-0-30-0, Manoj Tiwary 2-1-10-0.