An all-round team effort from the unsung East Zone team has carried them into the Semi-Final of the Duleep Trophy 2011/12 following their 5-wicket win today over the West Zone at Valsad. East Zone led by Natraj Behera will face North Zone in the 1st Semi-Final which begins on February 4th.
The fourth and final day’s play saw West Zone resuming at 131 for 5 with an overall lead of 102 runs in their second innings. All the four bowlers of the East Zone contributed as West Zone folded to 201 all out in 46.1 overs to leave East Zone a target of just 173. The top scorer for West Zone was India discard Abhishek Nayar who made 58 from 59 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes.
East Zone in their run chase got useful partnerships going and despite losing wickets at regular intervals managed to pull off a 5-wicket victory taking 56.3 overs to get to the target of 173. In the end it was an unbeaten partnership of 52 between Biplab Samantray (27*) and Anustup Majumdar (26*) which sealed the game for East Zone. Maharashtra’s 23-year-old left-arm-spinner Akshay Darekar’s superb 5 for 87 went in vain for West Zone.