Het Patel 96* rescues West Zone after early collapse
West Zone 250 for 8 (Patel 96*, Unadkat 39*, Sai Kishore 3-80) vs South Zone
West Zone's sought-after batting stars, including Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer flattered to deceive as South Zone restricted them to 250 for 8 on the opening day of the Duleep Trophy final in Coimbatore on Wednesday.
It was young Gujarat wicketkeeper Het Patel (96 not out) and his 87-run stand for the ninth wicket with Saurashtra's Jaydev Unadkat (39*) that helped West Zone recover from a precarious 167 for 8 to a safer 250 for 8 at the end of 90 overs.
But much was expected of an incredibly strong West Zone's batting line-up that boasts of Rahane (8), Iyer (37), Sarfaraz Khan (34), Yashasvi Jaiswal (1) and current India A captain Priyank Panchal (7).
For South Zone, pace bowlers Basil Thampi (2 for 42 in 15 overs) and CV Stephen (2 for 39 in 10 overs) blew away the West Zone top order within first half an hour.
And then in-form left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (3 for 80 in 32 overs) first choked and then ran through the middle order before lower-order resistance somewhat brought West Zone back into the game.
In the morning, the Andhra left-arm seamer Stephen had Jaiswal poking outside the off stump and caught by wicketkeeper Ricky Bhui.
Rahane started with a boundary but old habits came to haunt him as Ravi Teja snapped one in the slip cordon when Kerala speedster Thampi got him to edge one behind the stumps. For Panchal, Stephen's delivery straightened a touch after pitching and had the India A captain plumb infront of the stumps.
Once it was 16 for 3, the Mumbai pair of Sarfaraz and Iyer came together and looked like resurrecting the innings with a 48-run stand. While Sarfaraz held one end up, Iyer played his strokes, that included four fours and a six.
It was Sai Kishore, who had Iyer caught by B Indrajith just when the batter looked set and got Sarfaraz in identical manner to end his 117-ball vigil.
The Tamil Nadu left-arm spinner then rocked West Zone with his third scalp as left-hand batter Shams Mulani was trapped by a delivery that turned back a shade into him.
Patel, on his part, stemmed the rot, during his 178-ball stay in which there were six fours and a six. He first added 63 for the seventh wicket with Atit Seth (25) before Thampi got a breakthrough with the old ball.
K Gowtham then had Tanush Kotian before Patel and Unadkat defied South Zone for 21 overs.