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Central victorious

Calcutta: East Zone tried their best but still couldn’t defend their 194-run total as Central registered a two-wicket victory in a Deodhar Trophy quarter-final match, played in Visakhapatnam, on Sunday.

Naman Ojha top scored for Central with an unbeaten 65 and it was his innings which made all the difference in the end.

Confronting some good bowling by the East bowlers, led by captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Central at one stage were struggling at 125 for six. But Ojha ensured that Central reached home batting intelligently with the tail-eneders.

Apart from Ojha, Shalabh Srivastava scored 31, while cameos from Jalaj Saxena (26), Piyush Chawla (24) and Karn Sharma (22) too proved handy.

For East, Abu Nechim Ahmed took three for 36 while Shukla and Dinda took two wickets each.

Earlier, leggie Chawla cast his spell as Central managed to restrict East to just 194.

Chawla, who is also the Central captain, took five wickets, never allowing the East batsmen to gain a foothold.

East captain Shukla opted to bat, but the openers failed to give the team a sound start. Parvez Aziz (15) was the first batsmen to be dismissed when he was caught and bowled by pacer Anureet Singh in the sixth over of the innings.

Next man in, Sreevats Goswami, tried to forge a partnership with Jharkhand’s Ishank Jaggi, who was looking good at the crease. In the eighth over of the innings, bowled by Anureet, who has been very impressive this season, Jaggi slammed three fours. He hit two cover drives and a pull in that over and East were beginning to look settled.

But Jaggi’s innings was halted when he was run out in the 10th over. He made 28 off 29 balls with the help of four boundaries.

Manoj Tiwary joined Sreevats at the crease and much was expected from the Bengal duo. But Manoj edged one Umesh Yadav delivery to Central ’keeper Mahesh Rawat to pour water on any such possibility. At 66 for three, East needed a good partnership to dream of a good total. But that didn’t happen. Quite a few of their batsmen got starts but were unable to convert them to a big innings.