Virat Singh and Ishank Jaggi the starrer for East Zone
Internet Desk: Teenage sensation Virat Singh played another gem of a knock on Saturday to guide East Zone to an emphatic eight-wicket win over West Zone to clinch the Syed Mushtaq Ali National T20 Championship. East Zone has clinched the title with an all-win record in the tournament.
According to East Zone captain Manoj Tiwary, “It is an outstanding victory for us. Before coming into this tournament very few gave us a chance. But we stuck together as a team. Every one played their role to perfection. Both Ishank Jaggi and Virat Singh were consistent with the bat. All credit goes to my teammates.”
East Zone captain Manoj Tiwary put West Zone in to bat first after winning the toss. The bowlers responded well as they restricted their opponents to a manageable 149 for 5 despite a good knock from Sheldon Jackson. He scored a quick fire 52 runs off only 44-ball.
Chasing 150 runs to win, East Zone romped home with 38 balls to spare. 19-year-old Jharkhand left-hander Virat Singh was the star for East Zone as he scored an unbeaten 58 off 34 balls with five boundaries and three sixes.
Virat’s team mate Ishank Jaggi also chipped in with a dazzling 56 off only 30 balls. Jaggi’s knock included six sixes including a hook shot off fast bowler Ishwar Chaudhary.
Virat had earlier impressed with his unbeaten 74 against North Zone in the previous game.
East Zone had earlier won their matches against South Zone, Central Zone and South Zone. But the win against favourites North Zone paved the way for Manoj and his team winning the title. The captain himself played a blinder against the star studded North Zone side. Manoj scored a power-packed 75 runs off only 43 balls that included 5 fours and 5 sixes.
“The win against North Zone was the most satisfying. Top players like Yuvraj, Gambhir, Dhawan, Bhajji, Rasool played for them. But we stuck to our task and outplayed them. I am happy to have contributed in the win. We not only outplayed them but at the same time also increased our run-rate,” said a satisfied Manoj.
On being asked whether the win in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy will act as a solace for captain Manoj, he instantly replied, “The result here has got no connection with Ranji Trophy. Everything does not depend on the results. As a captain, I look at a broader picture and that is to see Bengal doing well in the seasons ahead. We had quite a few young players who shined for us in the season. But unfortunately we failed to make the cut for the knock-outs.”
The tournament was being played in the Zonal format for the first time with an aim to give all the players without an IPL contract grab eyeballs of the interested franchises.