Rajat Paliwal struck an unbeaten century before Jammu and Kashmir off-spinner Parveez Rasool produced a brilliant three-wicket spell as North Zone scored a comprehensive 100-run victory over South to advance to the final of Deodhar Trophy one-day tournament here today.
Put into bat, the North recovered from a precarious 63 for four in the 21st over to post a challenging 265 for seven in their 50 overs thanks to Paliwal's 113-ball 107 not out and Gurkeerat Singh's 66-ball 77 in the first semifinal at Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium.
The highlight of the North innings was the 151-run stand for the fifth wicket between Paliwal and Gurkeerat. Paliwal, who came at the crease when his team was at a difficult 40 for three in the 15th over, struck eight fours and two sixes, while Gurkeerat had six fours and four sixes in his innings.
Opener Prashant Chopra contributed 34 while India discard Gautam Gambhir could only score two runs from 12 balls.
Chasing a target of 266, the South began well with their openers Robin Uthappa (47) and Baba Aparijath (21) putting on 72 runs for the first wicket before they suffered a batting collapse to be shot out for 165 in 36.3 overs.
Rasool, along with his captain and off-spin colleague Harbhajan Singh, spun the North to victory as the duo strangled the South batsmen from the 20th over onwards.
Rasool ended with brilliant figures of 3/15 from just 4.3 overs while Harbhajan also grabbed three wickets for 35 runs from his 10 overs. Rishi Dhawan grabbed two wickets while his pace colleagues Ashish Nehra and Ishant Sharma chipped in with a wicket apiece.
Karun Nair top-scored for South with an unbeaten 51 from 57 balls.
The second semifinal will be played at the same venue between Central Zone and West Zone tomorrow. The final will be played on March 27.
North Zone: 265 for 7 in 50 overs (Rajat Paliwal 107, Gurkeerat Singh 77; R Vinay Kumar 3/57).
South Zone: 165 all out in 36.3 overs (Karun Nair 51, Robin Uthappa 47; Parveez Rasool 3/15, Harbhajan Singh 3/35).