Palakkad: The Kerala Cricket Association is searching for juniors to replace its seniors. But on Sunday, Santhosh, the 31-year-old SBT star, spun South to a six-wicket victory over North in the Jacob Trophy State senior inter-zonal cricket championship at the Fort Maidan here.
Santosh (five for 30) finished with match figures of eleven for 60. The left-arm spinner had earlier scalped six for 30 in the first innings.
On Diwali day, left-arm spinner C.P. Shahid (six for 41) did a la Santosh to help North gain a slender first innings lead of nine runs. However, it failed to build on the advantage and folded cheaply for 104 in its second essay. It was Santosh who did the bulk of the damage for the team.
He joined hands with right-arm spinner K.J. Rakesh (three for 18) to bundle out the opposition shortly before tea. Much was expected from Sunil Oasis, the former Kerala captain, but he failed to rise to the occasion scoring just 11 runs.
Chasing a target of 114 in 32 overs, South was tested to some extent by spinner Shahid (two for 41) and fast bowler Vilas N. Kutty. But, V. Suresh (53 not out) mixed caution with aggression to steer the team to a convincing victory in 23.5 overs.
North will now take on an upbeat Central in a crucial three-day encounter on Tuesday.
The scores: North 193 & 104 in 64.5 overs (Santosh Karunakaran five for 30) lost to South 184 (A.V. Arun 59, Sujith 58, Shahid six for 41) & 114 for four in 23.5 overs (V. Suresh 53 not out). South collected four points.