Syed Mushtaq Ali Inter-Zonal Trophy 2017, Day 1, Review: Gambhir, Dhawan power North Zone to powerful win

Syed Mushtaq Ali Inter-Zonal Trophy 2017, Day 1, Review: Gambhir, Dhawan power North Zone to powerful win

Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan
Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The Inter-Zonal leg of the premier Indian domestic T20 tournament commenced with two good matches lined up for the day. Syed Mushtaq Ali Inter-Zonal Trophy 2017 promises to be an ideal stage for the players to show their mettle ahead of the carnival cricket, IPL auctions. The first day saw the North Zone take on the South Zone and Central Zone taking on the West Zone. The venue at Mumbai was a batting belter and high scoring games were on the cards. The match between North Zone and South Zone was a run fest in itself.

The most positive outcome for the fans was the fact that two of the stalwart openers of Indian team came to the fore for North Zone. They were well assisted by some late hitting that came off the bat of Rishabh Pant. In the other match between Central Zone and West Zone, Central Zone registered an upset win over the favorites West Zone. The Parthiv Patel-led West Zone surrendered meekly in the match as they faced a heavy 6-wicket defeat. Here are the brief scores from the two matches:

South Zone v North Zone – North Zone won by 8 wickets

North Zone skipper Harbhajan Singh won the toss and opted to bowl first. The star-studded line-up boasted of international players like Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan. For the South Zone, Mayank Agarwal and Tanmay Agarwal stepped in to open the innings. The openers gave a flying start and they raced to a fifty run stand in just 33 deliveries. Mayank Dagar then got rid of both openers in quick succession. Mayank Agarwal scored 32 off 29 balls and Tanmay managed to score 25 off 15 deliveries.

However, the impetus to the innings was provided by Ricky Bhui and Vijay Shankar. Ricky Bhui notched up his half century in just 37 balls with 3 fours and a six. Vijay Shankar, who recently led Tamil Nadu in zonal T20, smashed a quick 15-ball 34 to propel the South Zone total to 173/5 in their stipulated 20 overs. For the bowling side, Ashish Nehra and Mayank Dagar scalped two wickets each.

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The run chase began with Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir opening the innings for North Zone. Both batsmen looked in fine touch as they raced past the 100-run mark in just over 11 overs. The stand was broken when Dhawan was stumped by Vishnu Vinod off the bowling of Murugan Ashwin on 50 off 38 balls (6 fours and a six).

In walked Rishabh Pant to score an unbeaten 19-ball 33 with 3 sixes to his name. Gambhir was unlucky to have not been able to finish the match for his side. He was dismissed towards the wee moments on 81 off 51 balls (12 fours) by Sreenath Arvind. North Zone chased down the target with 8 wickets in hand and 8 balls to spare.

Brief Scores:

South Zone 173/5 in 20 overs (Bhui 50, Vijay Shankar 34*, Dagar 2/31, Nehra 2/35)

North Zone 176/2 in 18.4 overs (Gambhir 81, Dhawan 50, M Ashwin 1/32)

Central Zone v West Zone – Central Zone won by 6 wickets

After having won the toss, Central Zone skipper Naman Ojha asked the West Zone side to bat first. The Gujarat duo of Priyank Panchal and Parthiv Patel walked in to open the innings. However, both could manage to score only 12 and 16 respectively. The middle order that boasted of the liked of Shreyas Iyer (7), Kedar Jadhav (8) and Irfan Pathan (4) collapsed by the midway stage tp leave the West Zone reeling on 61/5. Deputy skipper Aditya Tare then joined hands with Deepak Hooda to resurrect the innings.

Both batsmen added vital 47 runs for the 6th wicket to see their side to safety. Tare was dismissed in the 16th over by A Choudhary on 40 (33). Some late hitting by Hooda, who remained unbeaten on 49 off 26 balls with 4 sixes and 2 fours, saw West Zone finish with a decent 160/8 on the board. For the Central Zone, Aniket Choudhary bagged 3/47 and was supported by Amit Mishra’s 2/28.

Naman Ojha and Mahipal Lomror opened the innings for Central Zone in the run chase. Both batsmen got starts but none could capitalize. Ojha was dismissed on 11 and Lomror on 14. Ishwar Choudhary was the beneficiary on both occasions.

Ambati Rayudu scored a decent 24 off 19 before being dismissed by Pravin Tambe. Meanwhile, Harpreet Singh, who came in at number 4, played the anchor role for the Central Zone. His 62 off 42 balls was studded with 4 sixes and 2 fours. He was dismissed towards the end with 2 runs still needed. He was well supported by Mahesh Rawat’s unbeaten 30 off 22 balls. Central Zone were over the line with 10 balls to spare and 6 wickets in hand. Sohraab Dhaliwal finished off the chase with a six.

Brief Scores:

West Zone 160/8 in 20 overs (Hooda 49*, Tare 40, Choudhary 3/47, Mishra 2/28)

Central Zone 165/4 (Harpreet 62, Mahesh 30*, I Choudhary 2/20)