Balaji's double strike pulls things back
South Zone 219 (Sriram 43, Badani 42) North Zone 4-2 (Balaji 2-2)
South Zone collapsed from a relatively good position of 135 for 3, struggling against the spin of Ramesh Powar (4 for 78) and Sairaj Bahutule (3 for 65). Robin Uthappa and Sridharan Sriram had stabilised the innings after the early exit of the Swapnil Asnodkar, putting on 40 runs for the second wicket when, with the score of 43, Uthappa was run out by Dheeraj Jhadav. VVS Laxman departed soon, falling cheaply for 7, bowled by Munaf Patel.
Then Sriram and Hemang Badani (42 off 109 balls) took the total to 135 when Sriram fell to Bahutule. Sriram spent four hours and 10 minutes at the crease for his 43 off 167 balls. Seven runs later, Bahutule struck again, trapping Badani lbw. Then the collapse started as Powar struck four times. Dinesh Kartik fought a lone battle chipping in with a breezy 34 off 41 balls as wickets tumbled around him.
But West Zone's joy didn't last long as Balaji bowled Satyajit Parab and then induced Rakesh Patel to edge behind to Karthik in the space of 9 deliveries to lead the fightback .