March 27, 2002

North Zone notch up mammoth first-innings total at Delhi

Staff Reporter

Vikram Rathour, building on his splendid first-day century, made another 100 runs on the second day of North Zone's Duleep Trophy match against East at Delhi, giving his side the definitive edge over their beleaguered opponents.

North Zone's batsmen were only too glad to lend their star batsman the support he needed. Shafiq Khan, who had ended the first day unbeaten on nought, struck 73 off 151 balls with nine fours. Shafiq and Rathour added 184 runs for the fourth wicket off 45 overs before the former departed, falling to the guiles of Utpal Chatterjee.

Rathour fell only four runs later, finally falling to Sanjay Raul after compiling a mammoth 249 off 381 balls. He hit 34 fours and a six in his innings and was undoubtedly the lynchpin of a strong North Zone batting performance.

Vijay Dahiya, who came in at the fall of Shafiq, went three runs better than him. Dispatching the ball 10 times to the fence in his innings, Dahiya hit 76 off only 99 balls. His partner at the crease, Yashpal Singh, made a fifty himself, hitting 53 off 119 balls with five fours.

North skipper Mithun Manhas chose to declare the innings closed on a massive 567 for five. The runs came off 169.2 overs, a run-rate that made for some exciting batting.

East Zone had 10 overs to negotiate safely, and openers PK Das and Debang Gandhi succeeded in doing so. Das was aggressive in making 33 off 32 balls, with six fours, while Gandhi was only slightly more sedate, hitting 17 off 29 before stumps.

At the close of play, East Zone were 52 for no wicket and, if the pitch continues to play in the vein it has in this match, it may be the turn of the North Zone bowlers to struggle in the field on Thursday.