Vidwath Kaverappa stars in South Zone’s Duleep Trophy triumph | Crickit
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Vidwath Kaverappa stars in South Zone’s Duleep Trophy triumph

By, Mumbai
Jul 16, 2023 10:09 PM IST

The 24-year-old seamer's match figures of 8/104 help his team beat West Zone by 75 runs in the final in Bengaluru

Off the tenth ball of the final day’s play at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, Vidwath Kaverappa pitched one in the channel to take Priyank Panchal’s (95) outside edge. And with it, he all but sealed the Duleep Trophy final in South Zone’s favour. It took a little more than an hour on Sunday for West Zone to fold up for 222 in their second innings, handing the Hanuma Vihari-led South Zone a comprehensive 75-run victory.

R Sai Kishore celebrates with teammates after the wicket of West Zone batter Sarfaraz Khan (PTI)
R Sai Kishore celebrates with teammates after the wicket of West Zone batter Sarfaraz Khan (PTI)

The Duleep Trophy, which kicked off the 2023/24 domestic season, wasn’t as much about zonal honours as it was a chance for individuals to impress national selectors. Panchal, resuming on 92 and long searching for an international break, would have woken up on Sunday hoping to remain unbeaten in a victorious run chase. Operating under overcast skies, Kaverappa foiled Panchal’s hopes with the kind of bowling discipline that he has displayed right through the competition.

Panchal wasn't the only one to succumb to the Karnataka seamer during the final. Be it surprising Suryakumar Yadav with a shooter that kissed his outside edge, catching Sarfaraz Khan on the crease with one that tailed in, or ending Cheteshwar Pujara’s resistance with a leg-side trap that the experienced batter may not have anticipated, the 24-year-old from Coorg was able to outwit quite a few reputed West Zone batters over the past five days. Kaverappa's display was instrumental in South Zone claiming a 67-run first-innings lead, which proved decisive in the end.

Kaverappa was adjudged the player of the match (7/53 and 1/51) as well as the player of the series (15 wickets). “I feel I have matured a lot. A little bit more pace will be really helpful for me,” Kaverappa said, knowing exactly what he needs to make the step up.

South Zone’s win was set up by the bowlers. Two other Karnataka medium-pacers also impressed — Vijaykumar Vyshak with his short-ball bursts and Vasuki Koushik with his accuracy. The trio accounted for 14 wickets in the match. Tamil Nadu left-arm-spinner Sai Kishore played his part with four wickets in the second innings. He would be particularly pleased with yorking Sarfaraz in the second innings.

Hits and misses

Punjab’s Prabhsimran Singh — playing for North Zone — ended as the tournament's top run-scorer (202 runs) and UP’s Saurabh Kumar (Central Zone) bagged the most wickets (16).

Despite West Zone reaching the final, a few of their players disappointed.

Prithvi Shaw, who is out of national reckoning in all formats, showed glimpses of form, but he couldn’t muster anything significant to make amends for his poor IPL season. Sarfaraz, too, didn’t get enough runs and some of his modes of dismissal leave him with work to do in the matches ahead. With Suryakumar Yadav, the selectors now have a decent sample size in red-ball cricket to perhaps infer that all-format success won't be easy for the T20 maverick.

South Zone's Washington Sundar, who was picked ahead of Jalaj Saxena for the tournament, wasn’t trusted by captain Hanuma Vihari to bowl enough overs and batted in the lower-order.

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