With a sparkling 36-ball 67, Ishan Kishan helped East Zone to a seven-wicket win against Central Zone. The youngster posted his maiden T20 half-century as the Manoj Tiwary-led team chased down the 152-run target in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Inter-zonal T20.
While Kishan took on the bowling, Ishank Jaggi, who had come to the crease at 41 for one held up one end and took EZ to the finish line with an unbeaten 51 off 37 balls. After Sreevats Goswami was run out by Karn Sharma, the No 3 bat joined his state-mate in charting the course of victory.
That batsman said that the time spent with MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid has helped him evolve as a player. “During the multi-day matches he (Dhoni was with the team) himself called and spoke to me. That is definitely a plus for a youngster. He told me what kind of a mindset you have to keep while batting when you want to score big. It is not like you should attack from the very beginning which is something that one tends to do at this age. And where ‘keeping was concerned I also discussed with him a few problems that I was facing. He told me the best drills to counter those and these pointers really help a youngster.” The batsman added that the fitness regime he has learnt from Dhoni while he was with the Jharkhand team too has helped.
“In Under-19, I was with Rahul Dravid and he talked to me about working on my footwork and I have done that. Our coach Rajiv Kumar Raja also helped me in the state camp,” he added.
Looking for a big hit, he departed with 40 runs needed and Saurabh Tiwary joined Jaggi in the middle. After contributing six runs, however he returned looking to sweep Lomror and was caught at mid-wicket. Manoj then took the team to the target with Jaggi.
Earlier, Central Zone had lost Lomror to a run out off the fourth ball of the innings while Ashoke Dinda had forced an edge from Ambati Rayudu through to the wicketkeeper to leave the team on two for two. While Naman Ojha anchored the innings, he partnered with HS Bhatia for 75 runs to revive the innings. However after the departure of the middle-order bat the captain worked to keep the steady flow of runs with the rest of the line up.
A while later S Dhaliwal returned hitting the bowler to long on and a bit later Apoorva Wankhede returned to the pavilion hitting the Sayan Gosh to third man leaving the team on 118 for five. Karn, who then joined Naman in taking the innings forward was bowled by Dinda with the side on 130 in the penultimate over.
After adding 21 runs to the total with Mahesh Rawat, Naman too was out off the last ball looking for a big hit. While the captain had played a determined knock, Dinda-led attack had restricted the CZ to a modest total.