West Zone beaten by East Zone in Duleep Trophy QF
West Zone, led by Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, lost their Duleep Trophy quarter final clash against East Zone at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium in Valsad by 5 wickets on Monday, exiting the tournament.
East Zone’s middle order arrested a mini collapse to steady their chase and score the target of 173 runs they were set in the fourth innings. The win in the four day match saw them advance to a semi final clash against North Zone at Delhi on February 4th.
West Zone made a very poor start to their match after being inserted to bat first by East Zone skipper Natraj Behera on Friday. They slid to 41/4 as Assam’s Abu Nechim and Bengal’s Ashok Dinda ran through their top order.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Suryakumar Yadav repaired the innings with a 153 run partnership for the fifth wicket. Pujara made 55 before he was dismissed and Yadav went on to make 134 as West posted a first innings total of 314.
East Zone too saw most of their batsmen underperform but 130 from Behera and 102 from the Bengal player Anustup Majumdar saw them take a small but crucial first innings lead, as they reached 343.
The West Zone top order only managed middling contributions as Basant Mohanty of Orissa and Nechim didn’t let them build partnerships. Pujara himself made just 2 while three batsmen failed to go beyond the 30s. Abhishek Nayar and Kaustubh Pawar of Mumbai added 69 runs for the 6th wicket, Nayar scoring 58 before Dinda dismissed Pawar for 37.
Mayhem followed as Dinda and Shahbaz Nadeem of Jharkhand ran through West Zone to bowl them out for 201 from 180/5, setting East a target of 173.
Slow left arm bowler Akshay Darekar from Maharashtra stood out with his performance for West Zone on the last day but ran out of runs to defend. The East Zone batsmen kept chipping away with the runs with ease. East had a little scare when they slid from 113/2 to 121/5 in the space of two overs but Anustup Majumdar once again came to the rescue, knocking off the remaining runs with Biplab Samantray of Orissa in a calm 52 run partnership.
East soon brought up their 5 wicket win, only their third win over West Zone in the history of the tournament.