KL Rahul’s twin centuries went in vain as Central Zone defeated South Zone by 9 runs in the finals of the 2014 Duleep Trophy. Chasing 301 to win the tournament, South Zone were cruising at 203 for 1 when the Central Zone bowlers turned the game on its head.
Resuming their innings at 184-1, Rahul and Aparajith scored just 19 before Rahul was trapped infront of the stumps by Pankaj Singh. Four balls later, the tall pacer accounted for the wicket of Dinesh Karthick who had his stumps disturbed for his second duck of the match. Tamil Nadu pair of R Prasanna and Baba Aparajith showed some resistance before both were dismissed in space of 5 balls with 9 runs needed for the victory.
Aparajith scored a fighting fifty before he was stumped off Piyush Chawla. It was left to Hanuma Vihari and Vinay Kumar to see South Zone home but some poor shot selection claimed their wickets with Vinay falling at the stroke of Lunch. Then it was all formalities for the Central Zone spinners as they cleaned up the tail just after lunch.
Ali Murtaza and Piyush Chawla scalped two wickets each with Pankaj Singh and Jalaj Saxena settling for 2 wickets each. Earlier Ali Murtaza propelled Central Zone to reach a lead of 300 with a crucial fifty after Faiz Fazal and Robin Bist negated the 103 run lead achieved by South Zone. KL Rahul was declared as the Man of the Match.
Brief Scores: South Zone: 379 and 91 (Rahul 130, Aparajith 56, Ali Murtaza 3-59) lost to Central Zone 276 and 403 by 9 runs