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Duleep Trophy 2023

5.5 overs in 53 minutes – Time-wasting attempts fail in bizarre rain-hit, final-session Duleep Trophy finish

Duleep Trophy 2023: Time wasting tactics in North Zone v South Zone match
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The four-day Duleep Trophy semi-final between North Zone and South Zone ended in bizarre fashion, with North Zone trying several time-wasting techniques in a bid to go through to the final on the basis of a first-innings lead.

The Duleep Trophy, a zonal red-ball domestic tournament, is currently going on in Bengaluru; West Zone defeated Central Zone at Alur on first innings to book a place in the final after torrential rain could not allow any action after tea on the fourth day.

At the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, however, a dramatic final session unfolded under overcast conditions, with rain teasing players through the day.


South Zone managed to scrape through with a two-wicket win, but there was significant drama leading up to the finish.

The day began with South Zone on 21-0, needing to chase down 214 on the final day. Mayank Agarwal’s 54 kept them on course, taking them to 183-4 in 30 overs, still needing 32 runs when rain made one of its many interruptions.

Skipper Hanuma Vihari‘s 42-ball 43, Ricky Bhui’s 29-ball 34 and Tilak Varma’s 25 off 19 kept pushing them close, before a riveting last session unfolded under the darkness of heavy clouds.

North Zone skipper Jayant Yadav proceeded to stall play as far as he could. It is to note that North Zone would have edged through if the match was drawn, having eked out a first-innings lead of three runs.

Based on reports from those covering the match from the venue, the field setting was repeatedly changed, sometimes twice before a ball, players slowly moved around to kill time, even the groundsmen were called to put sawdust on tracks, all as rain threatened to come down any minute.

Meanwhile, a collapse ensued: from 191-4 in 31.4 overs, South Zone slipped to 201-7 in 34.1, losing Bhui, Tilak and Washington Sundar in quick succession.

Journalists at the venue noted that Jayant’s team took considerable time to bowl their overs: according to one, the side took four minutes and 46 seconds to bowl three balls.

Things heated up thereafter: South Zone No.8 R Sai Kishore reportedly had a heated clash with North Zone’s Harshit Rana, with the meagre crowd expressing their disapproval at the umpires’ non-intervention over the alleged time-wasting. In another instance, Rana reportedly celebrated in Sundar’s face after dismissing him.

Incidentally, Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant, currently at the National Cricket Academy adjoining the stadium, were spotted at the boundary ropes, watching the episode unfold.

The time-wasting did not help though: South Zone eventually managed to crawl through. Sai Kishore smashed Jayant over mid-wicket to seal a two-wicket win, booking their place in the final.

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