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January 4, 2003
At Secunderabad, South Zone kicked off their Deodhar Trophy campaign in style, cruising home by seven wickets and picking up five points from their tie against Central Zone at the Gymkhana Grounds.
Winning the toss, South Zone captain Venkatesh Prasad invited Central to bat. After Central's openers added 72 for the first wicket, Prasad's decision looked to have backfired, but South Zone's pacers were in good form and struck back strongly.
Chief among the Central Zone batting line-up wreckers were Dodda Ganesh, with three for 40 in 8.5 overs, and Lakshmipathy Balaji, who took three for 36 in 10 overs. Between them, they picked up wickets at regular enough intervals to rein Central in, and although skipper Amay Khurasiya hit 81 (86b, 9x4, 1x6), Central were bowled out for 220 in 45.5 overs.
Cynosure of many eyes, South Zone opener Ambati Rayudu managed only one, and when his side was five for two - and later 60 for three, with the fall of Hemang Badani's wicket - Central looked to have the edge. But Arjun Yadav (96, 128b, 11x4, 1x6) and Sridharan Sriram (89, 66b, 9x4, 1x6) played calmly to take South Zone to a win in 38.5 overs. The former was unlucky to miss out on a century, but the pair's partnership of 161 in 152 balls was the prime difference between the two sides.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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