Deodhar Trophy: South Zone Became Champion After 21 Years

South Zone clinched the Deodhar Trophy for the ninth time with a convincing 45-run victory over East Zone in the final on August 3. It was a historic win for South Zone, as they claimed the title after a gap of 21 years, last being crowned champions in 2002.

South Zone’s captain, Mayank Agarwal, won the toss and chose to bat first. The decision proved fruitful as the opening pair of Rohan Kunnumal and Mayank Agarwal provided a solid foundation with a remarkable 181-run partnership for the first wicket. Rohan Kunnumal played a stellar innings, smashing 107 runs off just 75 balls, including 11 fours and four sixes. Mayank Agarwal contributed with a well-crafted 63 runs off 83 deliveries.

The middle-order also stepped up for South Zone, with wicket-keeper batsman N Jagadishan scoring a vital half-century of 54 runs. Contributions from Rohit Rayudu (26), Sai Kishore (24 not out), Sai Sudarshan (19), and Vijaykumar (11) helped South Zone post an imposing total of 328 runs for eight wickets in their allotted 50 overs. Shahbaz Ahmed, Riyan Parag, and Utkarsh Singh claimed two wickets each for East Zone.

Chasing a formidable target, East Zone’s batting struggled to keep pace with the required run rate. Despite a valiant effort from Riyan Parag, who scored a brilliant 95 runs, and Kumar Kushagra’s 68, the team was restricted to 283 runs in 46.1 overs. Washington Sundar was the standout bowler for South Zone, taking three crucial wickets for 60 runs. Kavarappa, Vasuki, and Vijayakumar also chipped in with two wickets each.

The match featured a thrilling contest, with Riyan Parag and Kumar Kushagra’s 105-run partnership for the sixth wicket keeping East Zone in the hunt. However, South Zone’s disciplined bowling attack broke through and secured a well-deserved victory.

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South Zone’s impressive all-around performance and the team’s ability to handle pressure in a high-stakes final allowed them to lift the prestigious Deodhar Trophy after a long wait. The players’ efforts were commendable, and the victory will undoubtedly boost their confidence as they look forward to future cricketing challenges.

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