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‘Would Have Done The Same’: Hanuma Vihari on North Zone’s ‘Spirit of Cricket’ Defying Antics During Duleep Trophy

Hanuma Vihari (AFP Image)

Hanuma Vihari (AFP Image)

Duleep Trophy 2023 semifinal sparked the spirit of cricket debate as North Zone employed time-wasting tactics, however South Zone nonetheless won the match

The Duleep Trophy semi-final between North Zone and South Zone raised questions about the spirit of cricket after the final 5.5 overs of the game reportedly took as much as 53 minutes to be completed.

South Zone were still 32 runs behind their required 215-run target when rain played a spoilsport at Chennai’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium. The situation remained the same for almost 100 minutes. When the match was resumed, South Zone looked to be in a hurry to complete the chase.

But North Zone appeared quite lazy while adjusting their fielders, perhaps in a bid to lower the tempo of the game. The delay, however, didn’t matter at all as South Zone chased down the target comfortably to secure their place in the Duleep Trophy final.

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North Zone captain Jayant Jadav positioned most of his fielders near the boundary rope. But he went on to shuffle their places with each delivery bowled in the final session. It was seen that a fielder was called to take his position inside the 30-yard circle, only to return to his previous mark immediately.

Such gestures from the fielding unit prompted furious reactions from the North Zone batters several times. Three of the last 5.5 overs required 10 minutes each to be completed, while another over consumed 12 minutes and the remaining one took 7 minutes.

Although, South Zone skipper Hanuma Vihari backed the delay tactics of North Zone while speaking about the topic in the post-match press conference. According to Vihari, he would opt for the same strategy if he were the captain of the fielding side.

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“I’ve come across a lot of games where a team has tried to delay in the final few overs because it gives an advantage. It is obviously not wrong on their part. Some will say it is not in the spirit of the game. But even if I was the captain, I would have done the same thing,” Vihari said, as quoted by DNA India.

Looking at the match, North Zone posted 198 runs in the first innings. In response, South Zone suffered a batting collapse but were able to produce 195 runs, riding on the knocks of Mayank Agarwal (76 runs) and Tilak Verma (46 runs).

In their second innings, North Zone were bundled out for 211 runs. South pacer Vyshak Vijay Kumar stole the show by grabbing a 5-wicket haul. South Zone batters appeared more composed during the chase and won the match by 2 wickets. In the final, South Zone will square off against West Zone on 12 July in Chennai.

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