The first two days of the Duleep Trophy semifinals between West Zone and Central Zone were exciting and action-packed. A total of 23 wickets fell across the two days, Prithvi Shaw dazzled with a half-century and century with West Zone taking the crucial first-innings lead.
The third day’s play on Saturday was less intense in comparison as West pressed home its advantage in its second innings and set Central a humongous target of 501.
At stumps on a penultimate day at the Sri Ramakrishna College ground, Central was 33 for two and barring a miracle on the final day, West have all but sealed a place in the final.
Resuming at 130 for three, West was bowled out for 371 in the second innings with most batters chipping in with valuable contributions as they piled on the agony for the Central bowlers.
Shaw (142, 140b, 15×4, 4×6), who resumed on 104, started the day aggressively with a six, over long-on against Kartikeya before finding three consecutive boundaries off Aniket Choudhary. It took a brilliant effort from Yash Dubey, diving to his right at short-midwicket to remove Shaw eight short of a well-deserved 150 with Central skipper Karan Sharma providing the breakthrough.
At the other end, Armaan Jaffer looked solid playing some fine shots through the leg side including two flicks of Gourav Yadav to get to 49. However, in a hurry to get to his half-century the Mumbai batter mistimed a lofted shot over leg side to give a simple catch to Dubey at short midwicket off Karan.
Then Het Patel (67) started positively hitting Karan for three boundaries before he switched to cautious mode. The Gujarat wicketkeeper made a patient half-century while batting out time to try and put the game beyond the reach of the opposition.
Scoreboard: West Zone (1st innings): 257; Central Zone (1st innings): 128
West Zone (2nd innings): Prithvi Shaw c Dubey b Karan 142, Yashasvi Jaiswal lbw b Aniket 3, Ajinkya Rahane b Rajpoot 12, Rahul Tripathi lbw b Rajpoot 0, Armaan Jaffer c Dubey b Karan 49, Shams Mulani lbw b Kartikeya 29, Het Patel lbw b Kartikeya 67, Atit Sheth c Garg b Kartikeya 20, Tanush Kotian b Gourav 28, Jaydev Unadkat lbw b Gourav 1, Chintan Gaja not out 11, Extras (b-4, lb-1, w-2, nb-2): 9; Total (in 104.4 overs): 371
Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-82, 3-86, 4-200, 5-220, 6-260, 7-292, 8-341, 9-343
Central Zone Bowling: Rajpoot 16-2-63-2, Aniket 15-1-65-1, Gourav 12-0-68-2, Kartikeya 36.4-7-105-3, Karan 25-4-65-2.
Central Zone (2nd innings): Himanshu Mantri c Gaja b Mulani 18, Yash Dube c Shaw b Gaja 14, Kumar Kartikeya (batting) 1,
Total (for two wickets in 9.2 overs): 33
Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-33
West Zone bowling: Unadkat 3-0-13-0, Gaja 4-0-14-1, Kotian 2-0-6-0, Mulani 0.2-0-0-1