Visakhapatnam: Dhawal Kulkarni returned with a four-wicket haul after Cheteshwar Pujara and Yusuf Pathan hit twin half-centuries to guide West Zone to a 42-run victory over Central Zone in the second semi-final of the Deodhar Trophy here today.
Electing to bat after wining the toss, West Zone rode on Pujara (60) and Pathan's (70) half centuries to post a competitive 233 for nine in their stipulated 50 overs at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here. Defending the total, West Zone dismissed Central Zone for 191 in 44.3 overs to set up a summit clash against North Zone on Thursday.
Chasing 234 to win, Central were 15 for two in four overs but Shalabh Shrivastava (65) took the onus on himself and kept his team in the hunt with a patient half-century. He had seven hits to fence during his 115-ball innings. After Naman Ojha (9) and Mahesh Rawat (6) were dismissed cheaply, Kulkarni got rid off Shrivastava and Akshdeep Nath (0) in successive balls in the 36th over as Central slipped to 136 for six.
Karn Sharma (0) and skipper Piyush Chawla (41) too were sent packing in the next two overs before Ishwar Pandey (9) was dismissed by Arpit Vasavada four overs later as Central slumped to 161 for nine. Umesh Yadav was the last batsman to be dismissed. He blasted four boundaries and two sixes during his 27-ball 30.
Earlier, Pujara and Pathan held the innings together for West Zone with individual fifties to set the base for the score. Coming to the crease after the dismissal of Parthiv Patel (1), Pujara added 51 runs for the first wicket with opener Kedar Devdhar (32).
Once Devdhar was dismissed by Sharma in the 19th over, Pujara anchored the innings even as Ambati Rayudu (8) and Kedar Jadhav (12) left early at the other end. Pujara was dismissed in the 36th over by Yadav with Anureet Singh taking the catch.
After that it was Pathan, who scored most of the runs as he blasted nine boundaries and a six during his 57-ball innings. Pathan ensured West Zone cross the 200-mark before falling in the 49th over to Chawla.
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