Pandey double-century powers South Zone to strong total
Manish Pandey smashed an unbeaten 203 off just 191 as South Zone raced to 416 on the first day of their match against Central Zone at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Central had made a terrific comeback against East Zone in the quarter-finals, and seemed to carry some of that momentum into the match against South, getting rid of Robin Uthappa and Subramaniam Badrinath early.
But they were thwarted by a 174-run third-wicket stand between Karnataka's Pandey and Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund. Mukund scored 105 off 146 runs. Pandey was dropped when he was on 127 by Pankaj Singh off the bowling of RP Singh, and then carried on the destruction after Mukund fell. Wickets fell at regular intervals at the other end and South were eight down by the end of play. Their quick scoring rate, however, means they already have a strong total on the board, and could add to it on the second day with Pandey still at the wicket. Pandey's double-century included 19 fours and seven sixes.
North Zone also managed to score at a fairly brisk rate against West Zone at the Moti Bagh Stadium in Vadodara, reaching 315 for 5 at the end of the first day. Nineteen-year-old Punjab batsman Mandeep Singh led the way for North with a century, while Delhi's Mithun Manhas and Punjab's Uday Kaul got half-centuries. Kaul was unbeaten at the end of play, and his 86-run partnership with North's captain Amit Mishra was also unbroken. Saurashtra seamer Jaidev Unadkat had given West an ideal start, dismissing Sarul Kanwar in the first over of the match after North chose to bat, but the batsmen dominated after that and have put North in a strong position.