MOHALI: Defiant knocks from Mahesh Rawat and Karn Sharma ensured Central Zone draw its game against North Zone on the final day of their Duleep Trophy semifinal match at the PCA Stadium here on Saturday.
After dominating the match for three days, Central found itself in deep trouble after Parvinder Awana and Rishi Dhawan removed the Central top-order (six for three).
After the scare, Rawat and Karn steadied the ship and helped Central advance to the final on the basis of first-innings lead.
Earlier, Naman Ojha (40, 50b, 7×4) and Rawat fashioned a minor revival by adding 47 runs for the fifth wicket. But Dhawan and Samiullah removed Ojha, caught brilliantly by Mandeep at square leg, and Piyush Chawla respectively to put Central in a precarious situation at 95 for six.
When North was looking for a comeback, and possibly a surprise victory, Rawat and Karn batted brilliantly to upset the opposition’s plans. The two Railway players bailed their team out with a 98-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
Rawat celebrated his 29th birthday by scoring his 10th first class century (116,161b, 237m, 11×4, 3×6). He swept Yuzvendra Chahal to the square-leg boundary to get his third consecutive hundred.
Karn (69, 66b, 79m, 12×4) played some delightful shots off Parveez Rasool, and when he got out, Central had moved into the safe zone.
“The acquaintance with Karn helped. It was important to play out the overs. Otherwise, the advantage of first innings lead would have been wasted. My job is to score runs and it does not matter whichever team I am playing for,” said Rawat.
Central Zone — 1st innings: 538
North Zone — 1st innings: 457
Central Zone — 2nd innings: Faiz Fazal lbw b Dhawan 0, Jalaj Saxena b Awana 2, Robin Bist lbw b Awana 2, Naman Ojha c Mandeep b Dhawan 40, Ashok Menaria lbw b Rasool 0, Mahesh Rawat lbw b Chahal 116, Piyush Chawla c Saini b Beigh 10, Karn Sharma c Jiwanjot b Awana 69, Kuldeep Yadav c & b Mandeep 56, Ishwar Pandey b Chahal 6, Pankaj Singh (not out) 0, Extras (b-1, lb-6, nb-2, wd-2): 11, Total (in 74.4 overs): 312.
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-3, 3-6, 4-29, 5-76, 6-95, 7-193, 8-296, 9-312
North Zone bowling: Rishi Dhawan 11-1-52-2, Parvinder Awana 10-2-30-3, Parveez Rasool 20-3-83-1, Yuvraj Singh 1-0-2-0, Samiullah Beigh 7-0-34-1, Yuzvendra Chahal 21.4-2-91-2, Mandeep Singh 4-1-13-1.
North Zone — 2nd innings: Parveez Rasool (not out) 12, Yuzvendra Chahal c Ojha b Rawat 11, Samiullah Beigh (not out) 0, Extras (nb-1): 1, Total (for one wicket in five overs): 24
Fall of wicket: 1-24.
Central Zone bowling: Faiz Fazal 1-0-8-0, Ashok Menaria 1-0-5-0, Mahesh Rawat 2-0-11-1, Robin Bist 1-1-0-0.
Man of the match: Naman Ojha.