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January 16, 2003
A hundred from Vinayak Mane and a fifty from Abhijit Kale saw West Zone get the better of North Zone by two wickets at the Nehru Stadium, Kochi on Sunday. With this win, West have managed to end up as the runners-up in the 2002/03 Deodhar Trophy tournament.
In the morning, Central Zone after opting to bat made 254/6. Gagan Khoda (71 off 98 balls), Amay Khurasiya (47 off 62 balls) and Jai P Yadav (53* off 54 balls) were the men who helped their team set a challenging target.
With West losing early wickets in their reply in the afternoon the contest came to the boil soon enough.
Mane and his skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar (49 off 69 balls) managed to keep West in the fray with a vital 108-run third wicket partnership. After Kanitkar's dismissal, another important partnership of 82 followed between Mane and Kale (50 off 42 balls), before the former was dismissed for a well-made 101 off 95 balls, including nine fours and one six. At this stage, West Zone at 222/4 in the 37th over seemed to be cruising along.
But the loss of four quick wickets for the addition of just 25 runs meant that the match had suddenly turned on its head yet again. Fortunately for West, wicketkeeper MR Mewada and fast bowler IK Pathan held their nerves and scored the eight runs that were required to seal the win.
West Zone, who were rewarded with four points for their efforts, then, ended up with twelve points with three wins and one loss, one behind the winners Central. Central, who claimed just two points from a rained out match against East, were, meanwhile, left to suffer the ignominy of ending up with the wooden spoon.
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