Duleep Trophy: West Zone Big Guns Fail To Fire As Central In Control
Central Zone bowlers led by captain Shivam Mavi (4/43) silenced the big guns in the West Zone batting line-up to restrict them to 216 for 8
Central Zone bowlers led by captain Shivam Mavi (4/43) silenced the big guns in the West Zone batting line-up to restrict them to 216 for 8 and take control of the proceedings on the opening day of the Duleep Trophy semifinal in Alur on Wednesday. The lone point of resistance for West came from Atit Sheth who made a composed 74 off 129 balls. West Zone entered the match as overwhelming favourites, courtesy the presence of Cheteshwar Pujara, Suryakumar Yadav, Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan in their line-up.
It also might have been a reason for West to elect batting after winning the toss despite the largely overcast conditions at the KSCA Oval. But none of them fired as West would have desired.
Shaw and captain Priyank Panchal started on a confident note, and they had the assistance of fortune as well. Shaw was given a life on 16 when Vivek Singh dropped him at first slip off pacer Yash Thakur.
However, left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar, who bagged eight wickets in the quarterfinals against East Zone, jettisoned Shaw.
The Mumbaikar's punch was grabbed at silly point by Dhruv Jorel after a short juggle, and Shaw had to depart rather unwillingly.
The dismissal opened the flood gate as West lost wickets at regular intervals. Suryakumar was also given a reprieve on 7 as Vivek dropped his second catch of the match, this time off Shivam Mavi.
But Suryakumar was unable to exploit the opportunity as a swat away from the body off the very next ball ended in the hands of Jorel at slips.
Sarfaraz came to this match riding on a mountain of runs that he had scored over the last three domestic seasons. But on this day, all he could do was last for a 12-ball nought, dragging a Mavi delivery back onto his stumps.
Pujara made a 102-ball 28 and looked set for a long haul. However, Mavi returned to oust the seasoned batter as West slipped to 110 for 6 in the 49th over. His expansive shot did not go past Amandeep Khare at wide first slip.
The only jarring note during this phase of absolute domination for Central was the collision involving Avesh Khan and Rinku Singh, who went after a skier played by Sheth.
Avesh did not bowl for the rest of the day and Rinku too had limited participation in the match thereafter.
The absence of Avesh might have reduced the fire power of Central's bowling and Sheth exploited it in the company of Dharmendra Jadeja.
The seventh wicket alliance was resolute while milking 73 runs to keep the persistent Central bowlers at bay for nearly 25 overs. The stubborn stand came to an end when Jadeja was evicted by Saransh Jain.
Mavi soon induced an edge from Sheth that was gobbled up by Jurel at the slip cordon as Central stamped their footprint on the day.
All-round show by Harshit brings North Zone back in game
Young Delhi all-rounder Harshit Rana showed his all-round prowess as North Zone finished the opening day of their Duleep Trophy semi-final against South Zone on even keel after being bowled out for a paltry 198.
At stumps, South Zone were precariously placed at 63 for 4 with out-of-favour India opener Mayank Agarwal batting on 37. The rain robbed at least an hour's play in the final session.
The day's hero was Delhi's 21-year-old fast bowling all-rounder Rana, whose quick-fire 31 off 22 balls, batting at No. 9 took North closer to 200-run target that seemed a distant reality after the seventh wicket fell at 123.
Celebrating his maiden India U-23 call-up, Rana then bowled a brisk spell coming in one-change, first castling South skipper Hanuma Vihari (0) with sheer pace and then trapping burly Andhra man Ricky Bhui (0) plumb in front off successive deliveries.
This was after medium pacer Baltej Singh (2/21 in 7 overs) had removed the dangerous B Sai Sudharsan (9) caught by skipper Jayant Yadav and senior Karnataka batter Ravikumar Samarth (1) snapped by Prashant Chopra.
South Zone skipper Vihari's decision to field and utilise whatever help was available on the opening day was vindicated by his new-ball bowler Vidwath Kaverappa from Karnataka, who took 5/28 in 17.3 overs.
North Zone were in all sorts of trouble as they slumped to 18/3 inside the 14th over, losing openers Dhruv Shorey (11) and opener Prashant Chopra (5) in quick succession. One-drop Ankit Kalsi (2) edged one behind the stumps.
Prabhsimran Singh (49 off 52 balls) and Haryana man Ankit Kumar (33), then stemmed the rot with a 79-run stand for the fourth wicket.
The pint-sized Punjab man was attacking from the word go with six boundaries and a six over long-off of left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore's bowling.
Once medium pacer KV Sasikanth removed Singh, one short of his half-century, there was another collapse with another four batters back in the hut with an addition of 47 runs.
In a tight corner at 144 for 8, Rana and Vaibhav Arora (23 off 50 balls) added 29 for the ninth wicket and then another 25 invaluable runs were added for the final wicket between Arora and Baltej (2). The 54 runs for the last two wickets proved to be immensely helpful as North bowlers had something to bowl at.
Baltej and Rana then made life difficult for South batters save Agarwal, who had four boundaries -- two off Baltej and one each off Rana and Vaibhav Arora respectively.
In his comeback red-ball game post hamstring injury, Washington Sundar bowled nine overs, finishing with figures of 1/44.
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