India discards, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan struck breezy half centuries against a listless South Zone bowling attack to power North Zone to a thumping eight-wicket victory with eight balls to spare in the Mushtaq Ali T20 Inter Zonal league in Mumbai on Sunday.
In the first match of the day, hosts West recovered from a poor start of 61 for 5 – after being asked to take first strike by rivals Central – to make 160 for 8 which was overhauled by Central with six wickets and ten balls to spare.
Dhawan made a quick-fire 50 in 38 balls, helped by a six and six fours, while his Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir slammed a 51-ball 81, enhanced with 12 fours, as the two left-handers forged a 103-run opening stand at nearly ten an over to help North easily overtake South’s 175 for 5 on an easy-paced Wankhede Stadium track.
One-down Rishabh Pant, also a left hander, hit a 19-ball 33 with 3 sixes and one four to take North to 176 for 2 in 18.4 overs in the company of the promoted Amit Pacchara.
South, inserted in by North, were indebted to Ricky Bhui’s 50 in 37 balls, inclusive of two sixes and three fours, and supporting knocks of 32 and 34 not out by opener Mayank Agarwal and Vijay Shankar respectively to post what appeared to be a challenging total.
In the morning game, knocks of 40 and 49 not out respectively by Aditya Tare and Deepak Hooda, who hit sixes and two fours in his 26-ball essay, helped West rally after they lost half the side cheaply against Central on a pitch made lively by early morning moisture.
The duo added 47 in under six overs.
Central reached the target by making 165 for 4 in 18.2 overs, with Madhya Pradesh’s Harpreet Singh top-scoring with 62 off 42 balls, with four sixes and two fours.
Harpreet added 79 runs for the fourth wicket with Mahesh Rawat (30 not out) to pave the way for Central’s victory.
Both the winning teams logged four points apiece.
Brief scores: West Zone 160 for 8 (A Tare 40, D Hooda 49 not out; A Choudhary 3 for 47, A Mishra 2 for 28) lost to Central Zone 165 for 4 (Harpreet Singh 62, M Rawat 30 not out; Ishwar Chaudhary 2 for 20) by 6 wickets.
South Zone 173 for 5 (M Agarwal 32, R Bhui 50, V Shankar 34 not out; A Nehra 2 for 35, M Dagar 2 for 31) lost to North Zone 176 for 2 (S Dhawan 50, G Gambhir 81, R Pant 33 not out) by 8 wickets.