Puducherry: Bengal bowlers Akash Deep and Shahbaz Ahmed kept a tight leash on Central Zone with three wickets apiece as East Zone cantered to a six-wicket victory in a round-robin league game of the Deodhar Trophy here Monday.
Left-arm spinner Shahbaz (3/30 in 10 overs) and pacer Akash (3/35 in 10 overs) were both parsimonious while getting breakthroughs at regular intervals to bowl out Central for 207 in 50 overs.
Only Rinku Singh, who recently earned his maiden call-up to national team for Asian Games, looked in good nick, scoring 54 off 63 balls on a track that wasn’t conducive for stroke-play.
In reply, East were never in a tearing hurry as they exacted a sweet revenge for their Duleep Trophy loss, by surpassing the target in 46.1 overs.
Left-handed opener Utkarsh Singh anchored the chase with a well-compiled 89 off 104 balls and a 91-run opening stand with the experienced Abhimanyu Easwaran (38 off 55 balls) put them on course for victory.
With literally no scoreboard pressure, East batters didn’t take much risk even though Utkarsh had 11 fours and three sixes to his credit.
But it was the bowlers, who set it up nicely on a track where the ball occasionally stopped while coming on to the bat.
It didn’t help when one of the openers Aryan Juyal (39 not out) had to retire hurt during the first Powerplay before Shahbaz’s wicket-to-wicket bowling didn’t allow the Central batters to get away.
Even Rinku couldn’t really play big shots as he concentrated on singles and had only two sixes — one each off left-arm spinner Avinav Choudhary and off-spinner Utkarsh. Once Mani Shankar Mura Singh (3 wickets) got Rinku, the last four wickets fell for only 31 runs.
Brief Scores: Central Zone 207 in 50 overs (Rinku Singh 54 off 63 balls, Akash Deep 3/35, Shahbaz Ahmed 3/30). East Zone 208/4 in 46.1 overs (Utkarsh Singh 89, Karn Sharma 3/35).