The margin of victory was one of the highest in Indian first-class cricket.
West Zone also won their semifinals in impressive fashion, beating Central Zone by a comfortable margin of 279 runs. The final will be played in Coimbatore from September 21 and will be a five-day affair.
In the South vs. North game, the game was killed by the winning team’s batters when they piled up a massive 630/8 that was declared in their first innings, riding on hundreds from opener Rohan Kunnummal, skipper Hanuma Vihari and Ricky Bhui.
When North was all out for 207 in their first innings, courtesy of Sai Kishore’s 7/70, the writing was on the cards.
South forced no follow-on and scored 316/4, compounding North’s misery by giving them an unlikely target of 740 to chase.
On the final day, North was knocked out for 94 in 30.4 overs with Sai Kishore (3/28), off-spinner Krishnappa Gautham (3/50) and another slow left-armer, Tanay Thyagarajan (3/12), spoiling the .
It was a game that belonged to Sai Kishore for his great effort (10/98 in 39 overs), as the field was not difficult to save.
Sai Kishore varied his pace and length to harass the North’s batters with only opener Yash Dhull (59 from 58 balls) showing some counterattack instincts.
The innings ended at the fall of the ninth wicket as Navdeep Saini, who was declared unfit by the BCCI, was unable to hit.
No fewer than eight batters for North did not reach double digits.
Mulani takes five for
Left arm spinner Shams Mulani, who finished as the top wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy, continued his rich form by taking 5 for 72, while West made short work of Central in the other semi-final.
Chasing a massive 501 goal, Central was never in the running to make it a match and went all out for 221 in just over 57 overs.
Chintan Gaja, the sailor whose mindless bravado of deliberately throwing the ball back through the injured Venkatesh Iyer, also got his act together and broke down by three wickets.
Rinku Singh (65 from 71 balls) and ‘concussion substitute’ Ashok Menaria (instead of Venkatesh Iyer) (32 from 71 balls), slowed the inevitable down with an 87 run score for the seventh wicket.
From 33/2, the question was how long Central Zone could last. West had pretty much sealed it after their opponents were all out for 128 in response to the winner’s 257 in the first essay.
Prithvi Shaw was rightfully named Player of the Match for his 60 and 142 in the two innings.
It was his attacking approach at the top of the standings in both innings that put Central on the back foot.
South Zone 630/8 decl & 316/4 decl.
North Zone 207 & (target 740) 94 all out in 30.4 overs (Yash Dhull 59, R Sai Kishore 3/28, K Gowtham 3/50, Tanay Thayagrajan 3/12).
SZ won by 645 runs.
West Zones 257 and 371.
Central Zone 128 and (target 501) 221 in 57.1 overs (Rinku Singh 65, Shams Mulani 5/72).
West Zone with 279 runs.