Tuesday, 20 March 2012

All-round West Zone Clinches title

West Zone 355 for 4 (Parthiv 78, Rahane 118, Pujara 71, Jadhav 67*) beat North Zone 242 (Bipul Sharma 68, Munaf Patel 4-34, Abdulla 4-68) by 113 runs


West Zone produced a clinical performance to thrash North Zone in Dharamsala and win the Deodhar Trophy. North were going for a third consecutive title but West had looked the more convincing team in the semi-finals, in which they beat East Zone by 108 runs, and put in another all-round effort to make the final a one-sided contest.
West Zone played a near-perfect one-day game. One of their openers attacked, the other played the anchor role, their No. 3 scored 71 at better than a run-a-ball, and they had a swashbuckling innings in the end to put the game out of their opponents' reach. Then, just to make things absolutely certain, they took wickets with the new ball, before the spinners mopped up the middle order and tail.
North Zone captain Harbhajan Singh sent West Zone in, but was immediately put on the back foot as Parthiv Patel smashed 14 boundaries in his 78 off 63 balls. Parthiv got West Zone to 131 in 19 overs before he was trapped lbw by Harbhajan. Ajinkya Rahane, who had played second fiddle to Parthiv in the opening stand, anchored the innings, but kept the runs ticking over as well. His 118 came off 122 balls, and included 15 fours and a six. By the time he was dismissed, West Zone were 247 in the 39th over, and had the perfect launching pad from which to get a huge total.
Cheteshwar Pujara had shared a 116-run stand with Rahane, and went on to get 71 off 67, but it was Kedar Jadhav, a centurion in the semi-final, who gave the innings a final boost. Jadhav struck three sixes and seven fours to get 67 off just 43 balls, and ensured West Zone reached 355. North Zone's bowling figures made for sorry reading, with all the medium-pacers going at seven an over or more - Rish Dhawan's 54 off six overs was the worst of the lot. Left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma was the only bowler to concede less than five an over, taking 1 for 49 in ten.
The match ended as a contest early in the chase. Munaf Patel continued his impressive comeback from an ankle injury, making it nine wickets in four games with four early strikes to snuff out any hopes North Zone may have had. Bipul Sharma completed an impressive all-round performance with his 68 off 54 balls. West Zone's spinners came in for some stick as the tailenders threw caution to the wind: Dhawan hit two sixes in his 22 off 16 balls and Manpreet Gony struck three in his 28 off 11. The spinners hit back with wickets, though, Iqbal Abdulla following up his six-for in the semi-final with four scalps.

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