Mumbai: Teenager Virat Singh was again in the limelight with a cracking half-century which guided East Zone to an eight-wicket victory over West Zone to clinch the National T20 Championship for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
East Zone annexed the title by virtue of an all-win record with the tournament being played in round-robin format. After restricting West to a manageable 149 for 5 despite Sheldon Jackson’s 44-ball-52, East romped home in only 13.4 overs with 19-year-old Jharkhand left-hander Virat scoring an unbeaten 58 off 34 balls with five boundaries and three sixes.
His senior statemate Ishank Jaggi, who smashed his way to 56 off 30 balls that had six huge sixes including a hook shot off fast bowler Ishwar Chaudhary. Virat had earlier impressed with his unbeaten 74 against North Zone in the previous game. East Zone won with the match between Central and South Zone being rendered inconsequential.
The tournament was being played in the Zonal format for the first time with an aim to give all the players without an IPL contract a chance to grab eyeballs of the interested franchises.
In the tournament, East skipper Tiwary won all the tosses and mostly chased on a small Wankhede ground. The bowlers were all up to the task in each of the matches as they restricted every opposition under 200 runs which is considered a par-score at the Wankhede in a T20 match.