Hanuma Vihari led the South Zone to a thrilling win over West Zone in the final of the Duleep Trophy 2023 as he led from the front in the match which was played at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru from July 12-16.
West Zone captain Priyank Panchal had won the toss and chosen to bowl first. The South Zone only put up 213 on the board with Vihari hitting 63 runs. In reply, Vidwath Kaverappa picked 7/53 to bundle West Zone for 146 in the first innings with Prithvi Shaw making 65 runs.
With a lead of 67 runs, South Zone posted 230 runs in the second innings with Vihari making 42 runs and set West Zone a target of 298 to win.
Though captain Panchal made 95 and Sarfaraz Khan made 48 runs, West Zone fell short by 75 runs as they made only 222. Vasuki Kaushik and Sai Kishore picked 4 wickets apiece.
After the match, Hanuma Vihari said that he enjoyed the captaincy and praised the South Zone team.
"Yeah! Definitely I enjoyed captaincy. When you have a team like that you will enjoy doing captaincy. When you have this kind of bowling attack, captaincy pressure will come down. It was our plan to curtail them to below three runs (per over), and they executed it as the quality bowlers will make the captain's job easy," said Vihari, who will turn out for Madhya Pradesh for the rest of the domestic season.
Vihari also reserved a special word of praise for three Karnataka pacers, Vidwath Kaverappa, Vijayakumar Vyshak, and Vasuki Koushik, who picked 16 of the 20 West Zone wickets to fall.
"All three Karnataka fast bowlers who played this match knew the wicket very well. I had said earlier as well that having bowlers who know the conditions is an advantage to us. But to be able to put it into use is another thing, all three of them showed their skills. The West Zone bowlers have a lot of quality on paper and to get them out needed special skills and they executed it well," he said.
He pointed out the wicket of Sarfaraz Khan as the moment when the game turned in South Zone’s favor.
"Yesterday in the third session, Priyank and Sarfaraz batted really well. His dismissal was the turning point, I thought. If Sarfaraz was there, he could have handled that spell of Vidwath and Koushik, and getting Sarfaraz's wicket in the last session was the turning point," said Vihari.