Saurabh Kumar’s eight-for East zone crushed; North North East

Central will face defending champion West Zone in the semifinals; The North will stand against the South

Himanshu Aggarwal

Saurabh Kumar took 8 wickets for 64 Gallo Pics/Getty Pics

Central zone 182 (Ringu 38, Mursingh 5-42) and 239 (Mantri 68, Vivek 56, Borel 3-15, Shabazz 3-66) won. Eastern zone 122 (Barack 33, Avesh 3-34, Sourav 3-46) and 129 (Deep 24, Sourav 8-64) 170 runs

Saurabh Kumar took 8 for 64 as Central Zone beat East Zone by 170 runs in Alur to enter the semi-finals of the Duleep Trophy. The left-arm spinner took 11 wickets in the first innings with 3 for 46 runs.

Central next faces defending champions West Zone, who have entered the semi-finals directly. The match, which starts on July 5, will also be played in Alur.

East started the final day at 69 for 6 and Central took just 12 overs on the final morning to claim the remaining four wickets.

Sourav first trapped Ryan Barak lbw in the 34th over and clean-sheeted Shahbaz Nadeem in the 38th over. Four overs later, he removed Akash Deep and Ishan Borel off successive balls to seal the win. East’s top scorer in the second innings was No. 10 Akash Deep, who scored 24 off 14 balls, including three sixes off Sourav.

Saurabh’s eight wickets saw East bundle out for 129, their second batting defeat of the game after scoring only 122 in the first attempt. The other two wickets in East’s second innings went to Shivam Mavi and Avesh Khan in the third over.

The Northern Zone was a resounding victory over the North East PTI

Narang and Sindhu complete the rituals

Northern Zone Defeated by 540 on 8 Dec (Sindhu 150, Shorey 135, Rana 122*, Singha 2-74) and 259 on 6 Dec (Ankit 70, Prabsimran 59, Jothin 2-44) North East Zone 134 (Lamichane 44, Kaul 3-16, Narang 3-27) and 154 (Tamang 40, Narang 4-43, Sindhu 2-25) 511 runs

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North Zone beat North East Zone by 511 runs on the fourth morning in Bengaluru to advance to the semi-finals. North will now face South Zone from July 5 at the same venue to reach the finals.

At 58 for 3, North East lost 7 for 53 as Pulkit Narang’s middle order collapsed. He took four of those wickets with his offspin.

Balsor Tamang and Nilesh Lamichhani’s 57-run partnership for the fourth wicket was the only bright spot for North East. All-rounder Nishant Sindhu took Lamichhani’s wicket to start North East’s slide from 101 for 3. Tamang top-scored on 40 and Narang was next to fall in the second over to take his first wicket.

Although Narang finished with seven wickets and 46 runs, it was a memorable game for North’s youngsters like Sindhu, who scored 150 before picking up two wickets on Saturday, and Harshit Rana, who scored an unbeaten 122. He took two wickets in the match.

Himanshu Aggarwal is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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