Badri, Ashwin take South Zone to final

Cricket: Duleep Trophy: Pandey chips in with crucial fifty

Badri, Ashwin take South Zone to final


S Badrinath

Chasing  291 runs for victory, South lost both their overnight batsmen — Arun Karthik (33) and Abhinav Mukund (19) — early to slump to 72 for three to push the visitors on to the backfoot.

Badrinath, named in the Indian squad for the first Test against South Africa next month, led from the front while Pandey (59) and Ashwin (59 not out), who shone both with ball and bat in the match, chipped in with sparkling fifties as South Zone coasted to 293 for five in 70.2 overs.

They will take on West Zone in the final, which begins on February 2 in Hyderabad. Skipper Badrinath top-scored for South with a 116-ball knock that had 13 fours and a six.
Manish Pandey, who scored just 15 in the first innings, made amends with a stroke-filled fifty in the second.

However, it was Ashwin who was the undisputed star of the match, hitting back-to-back half-centuries and taking six crucial wickets in Central Zone’s second innings that tilted the balance in South’s favour.

SCORE BOARD
CENTRAL ZONE (I Innings): 333 all out 
SOUTH ZONE (I Innings): 295 all out
CENTRAL ZONE (II Innings): 252 all out

SOUTH ZONE (II Innings, O/n: 57/1): Abhinav Mukund c Ojha b Pankaj 19, Robin Uthappa c Raina b RP Singh 13, Arun Karthik c Kaif b Praveen 33, S Badrinath c Ojha b Saxena 82, Manish Pandey b RP Singh 59, CM Gautam (not out) 25, R Ashwin (not out) 59. Extras (LB-3) 3. Total (for 5 wkts, 70.2 overs) 293.

Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-62, 3-72, 4-180, 5-228.

Bowling: Praveen Kumar 15-6-33-1, RP Singh 14-1-77-2, Pankaj Singh 15-2-57-1, Sanjay Bangar 5-1-9-0, Piyush Chawla 13.2-0-75-0, Jalaj Saxena 8-1-39-1.

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