back icon


Rohan Kunnummal’s blistering century powers South to domestic double

article_imageMATCH REPORT
Last updated on 03 Aug 2023 | 07:08 PM
Google News IconFollow Us
Rohan Kunnummal’s blistering century powers South to domestic double

Rohan’s 107 was the difference between the two sides as South Zone completed a domestic double

Just minutes after the toss, Rohan Kunnummal was padded up and was seen hitting a few throwdowns. Minutes after the start of the high-octane clash, he repeated the same process but only this time against a strong East Zone bowling unit. 

There wasn’t one bit of hesitation when Mayank Agarwal won the toss, opting to bat first. It was quite contrary to most of South Zone’s victories in the tournament thus far, but owing to the gravity of the clash, it turned out to be a good move in hindsight. 

With both teams possessing a quality bowling unit, it was a matter of who blinked first. And it was East Zone, who, surprisingly, didn’t hand the new ball to Akash Deep and instead opened with Mukhtar Hussain, which made things slightly easier for South. 

Rohan stayed true to his nature, one that has earnt him the nickname of ‘Kerala’s Sehwag’. Right from the first over, his eyes were fixated on the boundary ropes, giving a real beating to the East Zone bowlers. 

Once their plans were thrown out of the window, it made life easy for both Rohan and Mayank Agarwal, who basked in the glory of stellar crowd support. Those who hadn’t seen Rohan bat before immediately fell in love with the Kerala batter, whose aggression shone brighter than the sun in Pondicherry. 

A hallmark of Rohan’s innings was that he could find boundaries at ease, in any part of the ground, including cut, pull and several down-the-ground slogs. However, had Riyan Parag timed his jump to perfection, the 25-year-old from Palakkad would not have gotten to his half-century. 

Mayank continued his characteristic anchor-esque role in the final, with just four boundaries, while the Kerala opener smacked 11 boundaries and four sixes. 

Rohan’s battle against Shahbaz Ahmed was quite the contest, with two sixes, and didn’t shy away from taking on Riyan with a six and a four either. Not just that, he even got to his century in style, with a six, as the South Zone dug-out were buzzing. 

But then the off-spin of Utkarsh Singh triggered a mini-collapse, as South were reduced to 184/2 as he removed Mayank and Rohan in the space of a few deliveries.

Sai Sudharsan, fresh off his century against Central Zone, looked in great touch with twin boundaries, but then Parag had the last laugh, with the left-hander cutting the ball straight to Kumar Kushgra’s hands. With South Zone finding themselves in a slightly tricky position at 268/6, they needed a new hero. 

And in stepped Narayan Jagadeesan, who looked South’s second-best batter on the day, with a fine half-century laced with two fours and a massive six. Combine that with cameos from Sai Kishore (24 off 19) and Vyshak Vijaykumar (11 off 7), South got themselves to 328/8. 

Parag spearheads East Zone’s reply

If East Zone had to win this, they needed either individual brilliance or a flawless batting display. Karnataka’s Koushik V ensured they didn’t have the latter, removing Abhimanyu Easwaran and Virat Singh in the span of his first two overs. In that spell, Koushik was almost reminiscent of a peak Bhuvneshwar Kumar, swinging the ball both ways. 

Vidwath Kaverappa continued his stellar form, with the wicket of Utkarsh Singh, as East stared at a barrel, scoring just 14 runs for the loss of three wickets. Sudip Kumar Gharami, who replaced Rishav Das, made his intentions clear with four boundaries and a few lives, with Jagadeesan missing an easy stumping. 

With both Sudip and Saurabh Tiwary attacking in full prowess and the partnership going past 50, South desperately needed answers, which came off a stunning catch from KB Arun Karthick in the slips, giving Washington Sundar his first wicket of the night. 

Riyan made his intentions clear with some clean hitting, but the all-rounder didn’t look in the best of shapes in the first few deliveries at the crease. But as the innings grew, he grew large into the game and made a telling contribution. The crowd whose loyalty swung between Sai Kishore and Sai Sudharsan found a home in Riyan.

It was Parag-monium at the Siechem Ground, as he smashed boundaries for fun, despite the dismissal of Sudip at the other end, who played one sweep too many. The partnership between Kumar Kushagra and Parag, East's best batting pair, almost took the game away from South as the all-rounder muscled his way to 95 off 65 deliveries. 

But then Mayank reintroduced Washington into the attack, and the off-spinner ended the chaos, removing Parag, who walked back thumping his bat to his pads. South Zone fielders rushed to congratulate the batter as he returned to the dressing room in some frustration. Despite the effort of Kushagra (68 off 58), all that East Zone could get to was 283, which was 45 runs short on the night. 

As the cameras panned towards Riyan, who looked absolutely shattered, South Zone were busy celebrating their second title in the year after wrapping up Duleep Trophy earlier in the domestic season, with Rohan named the Player of the Final and Riyan as the Player of the tournament.

Related Article