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East crash out after bowlers’ poor show

- Aparajith’s 121 takes South to the semis

Guwahati: A fighting 77 by skipper Wriddhiman Saha failed to match a brilliant century by Baba Aparajith as East Zone lost by 11 runs to South Zone in the only quarter final of the Deodhar Trophy at Nehru Stadium here Sunday.

South elected to bat first and cashed in on sloppy fielding by East to post a challenging 284 for five in the 50 overs. East staged a solid fight back, but a couple of run outs at crucial moments restricted them to 273 for seven in their 50 overs.

South lost opener K. Lokesh Rahul early, caught behind off Basant Mohanty’s first delivery in the second over for nought.

However, teenager Aparajith (121 off 129 balls, 4x10, 6x3) shared a 95-run stand with the seasoned Robin Uthappa (48, 4x6) before the latter had to be carried off the ground with a sprained ankle. Aparajith then forged another partnership of 59 with skipper Dinesh Karthik (33 off 35 balls, 2x4) for the second wicket.

Man of the match Aparajith, a member of the victorious Under-19 World Cup team, finally departed caught at backward point by Biplab Samantray off Shami Ahmed.

Kerala’s one-day captain Sachin Baby chipped in with an unbeaten quick-fire 33 off 19 balls (5x4) in the slog overs to add some more momentum to the innings.

It was the 89 runs given away by the East bowlers in the final 10 overs of the South innings that turned out to be decisive. The East bowlers went for over 10 runs an over in the closing stages.

The pace duo of Shami Ahmed and Abu Nechim proved expensive for East. Shami took two for 60 while Mohanty and Shahbaz Nadeem picked up one wicket each.

Pallav Das (16, 4x4) and Sibsankar Roy (26, 3x4) gave East a positive start.

Wriddhiman Saha (77 off 72 balls, 4x4, 3x6) and Ishank Jaggi (55 off 67 balls, 4x5, 1x6) were involved in a solid 49-run partnership for the third wicket before Jaggi ran himself out to a Sachin Baby direct hit from point.

Saha then shared a 65-run partnership with Govind Poddar (20) before the latter became another run out casualty to a direct throw by Sandeep Warrier from mid-on.

Local boys Gokul Sharma (40 not out, 4x4) and Abu Nechim (26 not out, 4x3, 6x1) provided good entertainment sharing an unbroken eighth wicket partnership of 53 but it was just too late.

Abhimanyu Mithun was the most successful South bowler with three for 40 while Aparajith and B Sudhakar shared one each.