Deodhar Trophy: Red-Hot South Zone Hold Edge Over Competitive East Zone In Final
The formidable South Zone will be eyeing their second national title in three weeks when they face an equally combative East Zone in the Deodhar Trophy final in Puducherry on Thursday.
The formidable South Zone will be eyeing their second national title in three weeks when they face an equally combative East Zone in the Deodhar Trophy final in Puducherry on Thursday. South Zone, who had won the Duleep Trophy last month in Bengaluru, have entered the title round with an all-win record in the league stage, and hold a slight edge. South will be looking to add a ninth Deodhar Trophy to their cabinet, while East Zone will be gunning for their sixth title in the competition.
However, recent form favours South Zone as the Mayank Agarwal-led side emerged winner over East in the league stage on July 30.
The core strength of South is their batting and bowling units which are in perfect sync with each other.
Openers Agarwal (278 runs, Avg: 69.50) and Rohan Kunnummal (204, Avg: 51) have been consistent for South and they will be looking for another fruitful outing in the final.
Their middle-order has been served well by B Sai Sudarshan, who has made 185 runs from just two matches with a hundred and a fifty while averaging 185.
The Tamil Nadu youngster joined the team late as he was playing for India A in the Emerging Asia Cup in Colombo. But he has more than made up for his delayed arrival.
But East will bank on Riyan Parag for another blistering effort. After a tepid beginning to the tournament, the 21-year-old Assam player has come into his own with two centuries against North Zone and West Zone.
Parag, now, has 259 runs from four matches at an average of 86.33, and stands fourth on the run-makers' list.
While South might just have an upper hand over East in the batting department owing to the presence of multiple match-winners, the teams' bowling is rather evenly-matched.
Pacer Vidwath Kaverappa and left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore have guided South's bowling impressively, taking 11 and 10 wickets respectively.
They have also received solid support from pacers Vasuki Koushik (7 wickets) and Vysakh Vijayakumar (6 wickets).
East Zone are capable of strong reply as the trio of left-arm spinner Shahbaz Ahmad (10), leg-spinner Parag (9) and pace bowler Manishankar Murasingh (8) have been among wickets.
Match starts at 1.30 PM IST.
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