Aparajith ton helps South whip Central to enter semis
Mumbai: Riding on Baba Aparajith's splendid century, South Zone crushed a hapless Central Zone by 116 runs with 13.3 overs to spare in the Deodhar Trophy quarter final at the Wankhede Stadium, here Saturday.
Aparajith, who batted at no.3, compiled a stroke-filled 105-ball 113 runs, laced with 2 sixes and eight fours, to power South to an imposing 296 for nine.
The Tamil Nadu batsman was well supported by Karun Nair, who made an attacking 74 off 62 balls inclusive of nine hits to the fence as the two revived a stuttering innings with a partnership of 124 in 109 balls for the fourth wicket.
In reply, Central started disastrously to be 3 down for 4 and then proceeded to be eventually shot out for 180 in 36.3 overs. Three batsmen were run-out, including the opener and the second-highest scorer Mukul Dagar (47 in 64 balls).
Number-seven batsman Arijit Gupta smashed 5 fixes and as many fours in his 49-ball 66 to keep Central's slender hopes alive till the power play.
South and Karnataka skipper R Vinay Kumar picked up 3 for 8 in 6 overs while little known left-arm spinner Darshan Misal of Goa gave him useful support by grabbing 2 wickets.
South, who thus avenged the defeat suffered at the hands of Central in the Duleep Trophy final held earlier this month in Delhi, will meet holders and host West Zone in the semi final here on December 1.
Put into bat, South began well on a track that had initial 'life', offering bounce and seam movement, but then lost three of their top batsmen to poor shots. Aparajith and Nair soon rallied the team with a fine fourth-wicket century stand.
Openers Uthappa and Mayank Agarwal, who made an attractive 35, put on 32 runs in testing conditions before both chased wide deliveries and threw away their wickets.
Aparajith, who registered his second ton in the tournament following his innings of 121 against East Zone last season, came to the crease at the fall of opener Uthappa at 32 in the last ball of the 9th over and batted almost right till the end.