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|Chopra guides North Zone to victory|
Tuesday, February 24 2004 17:15 Hrs (IST)
Needing 115 runs for a victory, North were cruising along comfortably at 51 for no loss before stuttering to 97 for five. But Ajay Ratra (12 not out) and Joginder Sharma (11 not out) scored the required runs as the team romped home in the 50th over.
Veteran leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani (3-31) and left-arm spinner Murali Kartik (2-21) shared the spoils.
Earlier, Chopra and Gautam Gambhir, resuming on two for no loss made steady progress before Kartik clean bowled Gambhir (24). Six overs later Hirwani castled star Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh (5) as the total read 63 for two.
Hirwani took another wicket in his next over beating the defence of skipper Dinesh Mongia (2) but Mithun Manhas and Chopra weathered the storm taking North to within striking distance before Hirwani consumed Manhas (9), again clean bowling, with the total on 82.
With top Indian spinners, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, nursing injuries Hirwani would also be a contender for the spinner's berth for the Pakistan tour along with Railways Kulamani Parida and Kartik, Sarandeep Singh of Delhi and Bengal's Sourashis Lahiri.
Even as wickets kept tumbling at one end, Chopra kept his end up and put his side firmly on course before Kartik deceived him with the total on 97 shortly after lunch.
North Zone in sight of win against Central