Bengaluru: In a thrilling finale to the Duleep Trophy, R Sai Kishore’s remarkable bowling performance led South Zone to a resounding 75-run victory over West Zone at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Kishore’s three crucial wickets on the fifth morning sealed the win for the hosts, securing their 14th Duleep Trophy title.
Starting the day at 182 for 5, West Zone required 116 runs to claim victory. However, their hopes were quickly dashed as South Zone’s bowlers tightened the screws. West Zone captain Priyank Panchal, who resumed his innings on an unbeaten 92, fell early for just three runs, caught behind off Vidwath Kaverappa. Kaverappa’s exceptional performance earned him the Player of the Match award as well as the Tournament award for his match figures of 8 for 104 in the final and a total of 15 wickets throughout the tournament.
Shams Mulani and Atit Sheth fought valiantly but could only manage to add six runs for the seventh wicket before Mulani became Koushik’s fourth victim of the innings. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja attempted a counter-attacking approach, hitting a couple of boundaries, but eventually perished while attempting a big shot, caught in the deep by Washington Sundar. Chintan Gaja followed suit, being caught at midwicket for a duck while trying to slog Sai Kishore. As the outcome became increasingly clear, Sheth fell prey to Kishore as well, attempting a similar shot and finding Washington in the deep, ending West Zone’s chase.
South Zone’s victory was built on their solid first-innings total of 213, with Hanuma Vihari top-scoring with 63 and Tilak Varma contributing a valuable 40. Shams Mulani and Chintan Gaja were the pick of the West Zone bowlers, claiming three and two wickets, respectively. In their second inning, South Zone posted 230 runs, with Vihari, Ricky Bhui, and Washington Sundar all making important contributions. Dharmendrasinh Jadeja was the standout bowler for West Zone, taking an impressive 5 for 40, supported by Atit Sheth’s 2 for 38.
West Zone’s first innings were marred by Vidwath Kaverappa’s brilliance with the ball, as he decimated their batting lineup with figures of 7 for 53. Prithvi Shaw provided some resistance with a well-played 65, but the rest of the team failed to make significant contributions. In their chase of 298, West Zone fought hard, led by a valiant knock of 95 from Priyank Panchal and Sarfaraz Khan’s 48. However, the efforts fell short as R Sai Kishore and V Koushik claimed four wickets each to secure victory for the South Zone.