West Zone hand Zimbabweans another defeat
West Zone continued their unbeaten run with a six-wicket win over the Zimbabwe President's XI at the Barabati Stadium. The Zimbabweans posted another poor total after electing to bat, and West knocked off the target with 71 balls remaining.
The Zimbabweans again failed to get partnerships going at the top. Siddharth Trivedi and Abhishek Nayar - who came into the attack early after Jitendra Patil twisted his ankle in the fourth over and could not field - combined to reduce them to 55 for 3 inside 20 overs, and only Stuart Matsikenyeri (44) put up a decent fight. Iqbal Abdullah's tidy spin netted him 3 for 28 from nine overs and Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane also chipped in to restrict the Zimbabweans to 176 for 9.
Thought Parthiv Patel went early, bowled by Elton Chigumbura for 7, Rahane's 41 from 49 balls and Cheteshwar Pujara's unbeaten 100-ball 53 formed the majority of West's chase. Zimbabwe weren't helped by some sloppy ground fielding and a drop by Chris Mpofu off the bowling of Graham Cremer, the lucky batsman being Rahane. Eight bowlers were employed by the Zimbabweans but West, boosted by Jadeja's unbeaten 28 from just 13 balls, coasted home in 38.1 overs. It was the visiting side's second loss in a row.
At the Ravenshaw College Ground, East Zone won their second match by beating Central Zone by 18 runs. Chasing 258 Central got off to a bad start and despite Piyush Chawla's brisk unbeaten 83 they slumped to another defeat.
Having elected to field, Central didn't make early inroads. Wriddhiman Saha's second consecutive half-century, a 76-ball 69, gave East a good start and along with Natraj Behera (28) he added 99 for the first wicket. Ishank Jaggi chipped in with 48 and Saurabh Tiwary a breezy 40 as East put up 257 for 7.
Once Central slumped to 10 for 3, losing the openers for 0 each and their captain Mohammad Kaif for yet another single-digit score, they were always up against it. Jalaj Saxena (25) and Ravikant Shukla (20) started to stitch up the damage yet again Central were rocked and slipped to 69 for 6 in 16 overs. Then came a brave rearguard effort from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (72) and Chawla, who added 138. The pair batted solidly against tremendous pressure but it was again Manoj Tiwary's part-time spin that delivered the breakthrough. Kumar was stumped in the 43rd over and from there East maintained the advantage. Chawla clubbed five fours and three sixes in his super effort, encompassing 96 balls, but was bowled by the pick of the lot, Ranadeb Bose, in the 47th over. The last wicket fell at 238 in the 48th over.