Debutant opener Rohan S Kunnumal and skipper Hanuma Vihari's unbeaten hundreds powered South Zone to 324 for 2 at stumps
Salem: Debutant opener Rohan S Kunnumal and skipper Hanuma Vihari’s unbeaten hundreds powered South Zone to 324 for 2 at stumps against North Zone in the semifinal of the Duleep Trophy cricket tournament here on Thursday.
Opting to bat, South got off to a solid start with Kunnumal and Agarwal (49, 59 balls, 6X4, 1X6) matching each other stroke for stroke. The 24-year-old Kunnumal from Kerala was the first to reach the half-century as they two added 100. Agarwal, who looked in good touch, was bowled by spinner Nishant Sindhu.
Kunnumal appeared to be at ease in the middle, playing some good-looking drives and Vihari, who joined the Kerala right-hander in the middle, played himself in and allowed the young opener to play his shots. Kunnumal cashed in whenever the spinners erred in line and length. The duo was involved in a 167-run partnership that deflated the North Zone bowlers.
Vihari brought up his 50 from 108 balls. Kunnumal hit some lovely shots and reached his ton off 172 deliveries with a huge six down the ground. He was lucky to survive a chance when he was dropped off Nishant Sindhu’s bowling on 77. He continued to get runs while the captain too appeared to pick up the pace of scoring.
The huge stand between Kunnumal and Vihari was broken by pacer Navdeep Saini when he had the former bowled for 143. His 225-ball innings was studded with 16 fours and 2 sixes. The ton continued Kunnumal’s superb run including last season’s Ranji Trophy which included three centuries.
Vihari, on his part, did what comes best to him, bide his time and wait for the bad balls to score off. At stumps, he was on 107, while Tamil Nadu batter B Indrajith was giving him company on 20.
Brief scores: South Zone 324/2 in 90 overs (Rohan Kunnumal 143, Hanuma Vihari 107 batting, Mayank Agarwal 49) vs North Zone;
West Zone 252/9 in 82 overs (Rahul Tripathi 64 batting, Prithvi Shaw 60; Kumar Kartikeya Singh 5/66) vs Central Zone.