Kaif powers Central Zone to fine win
Central Zone 277 for 5 (Kaif 131*, Ojha 59) beat North Zone 276 for 6 (Manhas 97, Mongia 90*, Sehwag 51) by 5 wickets
Mohammad Kaif powered Central Zone to their first victory of the Deodhar Trophy as his unbeaten 131 lead them towards a daunting target of 277 at Pune. Kaif shared two vital partnerships with Naman Ojha, whose 51-ball 59 set the tone in the early overs, and Sanjay Bangar. Central were lost three quick wickets in the middle overs but Bangar's assured 48 helped Kaif steer them towards the finish line. Kaif, who had produced an electrifying century in an exhibition game at Mumbai yesterday, hammered 16 fours in his 125-ball knock and piloted them to a five-wicket win.
Earlier in the day, North reached 276 thanks to a revival act from Mithun Manhas and Dinesh Mongia. After Virender Sehwag's blistering 51 off 44 balls, North had slumped to 73 for 4 as Rudra Pratap Singh, the left-arm swing bowler, pegged them back. But Mongia and Manhas added 190 for the fifth wicket and boosted their total beyond the 250-mark. In the end, though, Kaif had the final say.
South Zone 280 for 9 (Rowland 104, Sriram 69) beat East Zone 267 (Behera 73, Sanyal 60) by 13 runs
Barrington Rowland anchored South Zone's innings with a patient 104 and helped them sneak to a narrow 13-run victory over East in the Deodhar Trophy clash at Ahmedabad. Rowland, getting his first chance in the tournament, stayed at the wicket till the 45th over with the other players trying to up the tempo. Sridharan Sriram chipped in with a breezy 69 while Dinesh Karthik and Venugopal Rao made handy contributions. Ranadeb Bose was the most effective bowler for East and finished with 4 for 40.
In reply, East were rocked early by the new-ball pairing of Sankinani Vishnuvardhan and Rajamani Jesuraj and were in a deep hole at 127 for 6. But Sanjib Sanyal and Niranjan Behera added 73 in quick time and gave East a whiff of a chance. Vishnuvardhan, who finished with 4 for 49, dismissed Sanyal and despite Behera's gritty effort, East fell short by 13 runs. This was East's third successive defeat in the tournament and put an end to their chances of defending their title.