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Mohammed puts South in Shell finals
Right handed batsman Tariq Mohammed scored a classy unbeaten 75 to take South into the finals of the Shell Under-15 Interzone cricket series, with an eight-wicket thumping of North on Wednesday at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva.
Batting first after losing the toss and being inserted by their opponents, North Zone made 159 runs in their allotted 50 overs which South overhauled in a canter, reaching 160 for the loss of only two wickets in 30.5 overs.
South Zone, unbeaten so far in the tournament, will now play the winner of the other semi-final between defending champions East, and Central scheduled for Thursday, on February 22 at the NCC Ground.
Mohammed, who scored a century earlier in the week for his school Presentation College South in the PowerGen Secondary Schools Championship league, continued his good form much to the delight of the southern fans at the NCC.
The parents of the southern team packed the covered stand on the southern end and were treated to an array of wonderful shots from the national youth player.
He needed only 94 balls to finish the job, as he and reliable opener Kyle Roochand put the game away after North captured the early wicket of Rodney Beharry.
Roochand, a languid right hander, scored 55 runs off 83 balls in a match-winning second wicket partnership of 134 runs with his captain.
North Zone also gave away 26 unnecessary extras including 21 wides which shored up the South Zone reply.
Earlier, it was another outstanding bowling performance by South Zone which put them on the road to victory, stifling the North Zone batsmen despite conceding 46 extras, including 30 wides, which comprised the highest total of the innings.
North was put on the back foot early on as opening bowler Liam Mamchan grabbed an early scalp.
All-rounder Darren Samlal added another wicket and Ryall Narine one to reduce North to 34 for three.
However, top scorer Chadeon Raymond with 26 and wicketkeeper Gerard Chin 25 featured in a face-saving 69-run partnership for the fourth wicket, the highest of the innings while Jeremy Cruickshank chipped in with 21 to shore up the fighting effort.
Leg-spinner Avalon Changoor brought South right back into the contest with three wickets for 13 runs in his ten overs with three maidens, while left arm seamer Jacen Agard with two for 18 in five overs, and Narine 2/28 finished the job.
Three times defending champions East Zone has been knocked out of the series at the semi-final stage by Central.
Central will now move on to play South in the finals next Wednesday at the NCC in Couva. Batting first East was bowled out for 111 which proved an inadequate score at Balmain. Top score came via extras, which numbered 36 with 33 wides. Apart from that East got 19 not out from Shazard Mohammed. The pick of the Central bowlers were Rahul Pitiram, Rajiv Ramnath and Daniel Fletcher. Central then lost mainstay Aaron Bankay for a ‘duck’ and Shiva Sankar four early but Pitiram scored an unbeaten 43 to keep Central in the hunt. Wickets continued to fall around him however and Central slipped to 38/4. Pitiram then found an able partner Isaac Ramrattan who scored an unbeaten 25, as Central reached their target at 112/4.