January 27, 2001

East beat back South challenge for four wicket victory in Duleep

Staff Reporter

South Zone fought hard but a gallant 89 by Indian opening batsman Shiv Sundar Das proved to be the vital contribution as East Zone won their Duleep Trophy match at the Maharaja Bir Bikram College Stadium in Agartala on Saturday by four wickets. The victory, which came in the first over after lunch, took East Zone's tally to 13 points from three matches. South Zone stayed on eight points from the same number of games.

East Zone, who required only 96 runs with eight wickets in hand, were favoured to win when play resumed this morning. But South Zone came strongly into the picture with some quick blows. First, Venkatesh Prasad had Sanjay Raul leg before for 18 with the total on 76. In the next over Rohan Gavaskar was caught by Vijay Bhardwaj off Srinath for one. And in the very next over, SZ Zuffri was leg before to Prasad for one to leave East Zone in a shaky position at 78 for five.

Young wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta joined Das and the two put East Zone back on the rails with a sixth wicket partnership of 45 runs off 15.2 overs. Das who dominated the scoring was finally out for 79, caught by VVS Laxman off Sunil Joshi. The East Zone captain batted four hours, faced 183 balls and hit eleven fours in his invaluable knock.

South Zone had a chance with Das' dismissal for East Zone still required 44 runs for victory. But Dasgupta and Sukhbinder Singh made light of the task and steered their side to victory with an unbroken seventh wicket stand of 47 runs off 13.4 overs. For his timely unbeaten 32, Dagupta faced 65 balls and hit four of them to the ropes. Sukbhinder, who had bagged six wickets in the South Zone second innings was unbeaten with 22 off 49 balls with three boundary hits.