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Duleep Trophy 2009-10: Semi-Finals Review
By Chetan Narula
1st Semi-Final: West Zone (769 and 345 for 7) drew with North Zone (294) at Rajkot
There were quite a few India hopefuls playing in the Duleep Trophy and with a spate of injuries affecting Team India, there are places to play for in the current as well as future context. Mumbai’s Abhishek Nayyar served first notice to the selectors with a sturdy double century that put West Zone on course for a mammoth first innings total of 769. Romesh Powar played the other handsome hand with 109 to his name, after West had been reduced to 285 for 5 at one stage. Delhi youngster Vikas Mishra continued to impress with another four wicket haul to his name. Chasing a huge total, North Zone were never up for it and crashed to 294 all out with Ravindra Jadeja and Irfan Pathan both making a claim with three wickets apiece to their names. Instead of pushing on for a win, West Zone decided to bat first as per the norm this season, in a bid to get some practice ahead of the final. Rohit Sharma and Cheteswara Pujara this time played themselves into form with steady centuries against their names as West finished at 345 for 7.
2nd Semi-Final: South Zone (295 and 293 for 5) beat Central Zone (333 and 252) by 5 wickets at Indore
It was an amazing see-saw battle at Indore as opposed to the dull first semifinal at Rajkot. Mohammad Kaif talked up his chances of a comeback to the national squad with a century following his double in the quarters against East Zone. Aided with 90 from Piyush Chawla, his 112 runs carried Central Zone to 333 in their first innings. South Zone rated favourites for this competition managed a sub-300 total in their first innings as Praveen Kumar grabbed five wickets for 82 runs. R Ashwin top scored with 58 and it was prelude to a brilliant spell of spin bowling, taking six wickets for 67 runs, stopping Central at 252 in their second innings. Suresh Raina top scored with 59 while Piyush Chawla got his second half century of the match with 56. That left South chasing a target of 291 runs but there were early setbacks as they were reduced to 72 for 3.However, S Badrinath and Manish Pandey showed composure to score half centuries before another stellar effort with the bat from Ashwin took them home.
Quarter-final: Central Zone (480) drew with East Zone (290) at Amritsar
Central Zone were reeling at 9 for 3 after being put into bat by East Zone in helpful morning conditions before Mohammad Kaif put up a fighting display of batting, scoring a rearguard double hundred. His 202 runs found support from Suresh Raina (98) and Parvinder Singh (113) as Central reached a total of 480 which had earlier looked unlikely. Ranadeb Bose and Ashok Dinda who had caused the initial damage shared five wickets between them. Central’s bowling did a much better overall job as they restricted East to only 290 in their first innings, with Manoj Tiwary top scoring with 102. Bad light and fog at this time of the season affected play on all four days and only two innings were possible.
© Cricket World 2010
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