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BCCI Staff in Mumbai 24 March 2014 - 09:43pm IST

2014 Deodhar Trophy SF - NZ vs SZ

Rajat Paliwal stars in North Zone win

With a comprehensive 100-run win over South Zone, North Zone powered their way into the final of the 2014 BCCI Prof D B Deodhar Trophy. After centurion Rajat Paliwal and Gurkeerat Singh salvaged the floundering North Zone innings with a 151-run partnership, their bowlers bowled out South Zone for 165 to claim victory.

Batting first, North Zone put up 265 for seven, after being reduced to 63 for four in the 21st over. South Zone captain Vinay Kumar, who has been in good form while representing his state team throughout the season, provided early breakthroughs to push NZ on the back foot. He claimed Gautam Gambhir for two, and followed up with the wicket of Nitin Saini six overs later. Five runs later, Mandeep Singh was run out. And a few overs later, Baba Aparajith trapped Prashant Chopra leg-before.

However, Gurkeerat Singh and Rajat Paliwal then fashioned a comeback for North Zone with a solid fifth-wicket partnership. The pair carefully rebuilt the innings and seized the advantage back from South Zone, until Vinay Kumar struck to end the stand. The SZ captain sent back Gurkeerat Singh to end the flourishing partnership. With Gurkeerat back in the pavilion for 77, Parvez Rasool came out to the crease, but was removed by Abhimanyu Mithun for eight. Harbhajan Singh followed him back after adding seven to the total, while Paliwal continued to stoically hold up one end. The middle-order batsman remained unbeaten on 107 with Rishi Dhawan on four as North Zone set the opposition a competitive target.

Chasing the 266-run target, South Zone got off to a good start with Robin Uthappa and Aparajith building a 72-run opening stand. Ishant Sharma gave NZ their first breakthrough by accounting for Aparajith’s wicket. Rishi Dhawan then claimed two in his next two overs to leave the opposition on 78 for three and tip the balance back in NZ’s favour. NZ bowlers continued to strike at regular intervals thereafter. After Dhawan accounted for Uthappa and Lokesh Rahul’s wicket, Harbhajan Singh and Rasool ran through the rest of the line-up to wrap up the SZ innings.

Harbhajan and Rasool claimed three wickets each, while Ashish Nehra took one to bowl North Zone to a victory in the semi-final clash.