Yagnik's last-ball six off Ganguly seals win
Dishant Yagnik, the Central Zone wicketkeeper, did an encore of what Javed Miandad did to India twenty years ago, hitting Sourav Ganguly for a six off the last ball of the match with five runs needed, beating East Zone by one wicket in a thrilling Deodhar Trophy match at Jaipur. In pursuit of 227 in a match reduced to 45 overs per side, Central lost three wickets for 13 runs in the latter stages of the innings, due to an inspired spell by Mihir Diwakar, the medium pacer from Jharkand.
Shib Sankar Paul's superb penultimate over, where he took a wicket and gave away just one run, put East in sight of victory. With 13 to get off the last over, with one wicket remaining, it was left to Yagnik and Harvinder Singh to see the side through. "I had to give the ball to Ganguly since the other pace bowlers had exhausted their quota," explained Deep Dasgupta after the game. "And also because of his vast experience, he was the right man to bowl at the death with 12 runs to play with."
No boundaries were conceded in the first five balls, leaving Central needing five off the last ball. Yagnik, who had earlier held four catches, made room and lofted a cover-driven six to seal the issue in magnificent style.
Put into bat, East Zone were piloted by Abhishek Jhunjhunwala (66), the only batsman to cross fifty. Yagnik enjoyed a good day behind the stumps as well, claiming four catches. Laxmi Ratan Shukla (23), along with his Bengal team-mate Shibsagar Singh (32), accelerated the scoring towards the end, scoring 47 off the last five overs to finish with a competitive total of 226 for 6.
Meanwhile at Udaipur, Mithun Manhas's unbeaten 122 helped North Zone comprehensively beat South Zone by 74 runs in a Deodhar Trophy match at Udaipur. Manhas scored at over a run-a-ball, striking 10 fours and three sixes, and also shared an unbeaten 144-run partnership with Reetinder Sodhi (57*), as North finished with an imposing total of 310 for 2 in 50 overs. Venugopal Rao was the lone wicket-taker, dismissing Sumit Sharma, the opener, for 80.
In reply, South Zone were tottering at 22 for 4, rocked by North Zone's opening bowlers, Joginder Sharma and Gagandeep Singh. S Badrinath (48) and Hemang Badani (25) took the score to 67 but South were later dogged by needless run-outs, with as many as five in the innings. Lower-order batsmen B Akhil (40) and D Kalyanakrishna (53) delayed the inevitable as South were bowled out for 236. Both sides are now tied at second place with nine points.