R Vinay Kumar wrecked havoc with a four-wicket haul as South Zone humiliated Central Zone by 552 runs to set up a summit clash with North Zone in the Duleep Trophy in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Needing an improbable 770 runs to win the match, Central Zone were bundled out for 217 in their second innings on the fourth and final day of the match here.
Placed precariously at 73 for two overnight, Central Zone never seemed to be in the hunt and barring Naman Ojha (55) and Ashok Menaria, none of the visiting batsmen could offer any resistance.
Mohnish Mishra was the first Central Zone wicket to fall after adding just eight runs to his overnight score of 30.
Mishra's departure, however, came after he and Ojha combined for a 75-run stand for the fourth wicket.
After Naman Ojha was bowled by Pragyan Ojha after a breezy 67-ball knock -- that included nine boundaries and a six -- the Central Zone's innings also began to collapse although Menaria and Devendra Bundela (29) delayed the imminent with their contributions.
Menaria's was an entertaining knock that came off just 47 balls which was studded with five boundaries and four sixes.
But Vinay Kumar snapped up both Bundela and Menaria and the lower half of the Central Zone batting failed to make any noteworthy contribution as South cruised to a comfortable win.
Central Zone were without key batsman Mohammad Kaif who retired hurt on Friday itself.
South Zone: 443 and 504 for 7 decl in 100.3 overs (Abhinav Mukund 164, Amit Verma 148; Umesh Yadav 2/63)
Central Zone: 178 and 217 all out in 47.1 overs (Naman Ojha 55, Ashok Menaria 63; R Vinay Kumar 4/36).
North pip defending champs West Zone to enter final
North Zone entered the finals of the Duleep Trophy cricket tournament on the basis of their first innings lead after their semi-final match against defending champions West Zone ended in a draw on the fourth day in Vadodara on Saturday.
North, who will now take on South Zone in the final of the event, did not go for an outright victory on Saturday despite starting the day on a healthy lead of 259 runs here at the Moti Baug ground.
Amit Mishra's men could have gone for an outright win by declaring their innings early and trying to get the West all out but they decided to give their batsmen some match practice ahead of the crucial final.
After resuming on 191 for three in their second essay on Saturday, North went on score 421 all out to set their opponents a target of 485.
At the end of the final day's play, West Zone reached 61 for three in their second innings in a drawn encounter.
Overnight batsmen in Mithun Manhas, resuming on 48 and Yashpal Singh on eight gave North a perfect start.
While Manhas remained unbeaten on 158, Yashpal chipped in with a valuable 42 as the duo shared a 96-run stand together.
After Yashpal departed, few wickets fell in quick succession but Manhas held on to his ground and played some fine shots.
Sumit Narwal (50) then joined him in the middle and the pair put up a 103-run stand to extend North's lead even further.
Manhas's 158 not out came from just 178 balls, including 26 fours during his 265-minute stay at the crease.
For West, Bhargav Bhatt (4 for 104) and Samad Fallah (4 for 113) chipped in with four wickets each.
Chasing an unachievable target, West lost both the openers Harshad Khadiwale (21) and Sahil Kukreja (12) before losing first down batsman Ajinkya Rahane (19) cheaply.
While Vikas Mishra (2 for 5) accounted for two wickets, Narwal (1 for 14) took one.
North Zone: 460 & 421 all out in 88.5 overs (Mithun Manhas not out 158, Sarul Kanwar 53, Shikhar Dawan 53; Bhargav Bhatt 4/104), Samad Fallah 4/113).
West Zone: 397 & 61 for three in 23 overs (Harshad Khadiwale 21; Vikas Mishra 2/05).