Nayar and Kaif shine with centuries
West Zone 425 for 5 (Nayar 102*, Pujara 77, Jadeja 55*) v North Zone
A classy unbeaten century from Mumbai batsman Abhishek Nayar, along with a host of fifties, gave West Zone the early advantage against North Zone in the first semi-final of the Duleep Trophy in Rajkot. Choosing to bat, West lost openers Wasim Jaffer and Ajinkya Rahane with 55 on the board. But a 97-run partnership between Parthiv Patel (55) and Cheteshwar Pujara put them back on track. Pujara then went on to add another 69 with Rohit Sharma (63) for the fourth wicket. Substantial partnerships proved to North's bane as Sharma powered on with Mumbai team-mate Nayar and added another 64. Nayar didn't go the way of the other three half-centurions and went on to post three figures, hitting 15 boundaries and three sixes. With Ravindra Jadeja looking good on 55 not out, and the stand already worth 140, North are definitely in for the long haul.
Central Zone 300 for 7 (Kaif 112, Chawla 70*, Mithun 3-44) v South Zone
Captain Mohammad Kaif led from the front with a gritty hundred as Central Zone wrested control from South Zone in the second semi-final in Indore. Opting to field, South were given an early lift by the Ranji Trophy's highest wicket-taker Abhimanyu Mithun. He took out the top three batsmen as South picked up regular wickets. However, at 154 for 6, Kaif and Piyush Chawla combined for a 118-run stand that kept Central afloat. Kaif, who followed up from his double hundred against East in the previous match, hit 17 fours during his 222-ball stay before becoming R Vinay Kumar's second victim. Having hit seven fours and two sixes en route to his unbeaten 70, more will be expected from Chawla if Central are to push forward.