Awana stars as North power into final
North Zone 289 for 8 (Yashpal 83, Dogra 71, Gehlot 3-59) beat Central Zone 267 for 9 (Kaif 60, Menaria 51, Awana 6-49) by 22 runs
A strong batting performance and some incisive medium-pace from Parvinder Awana saw North Zone ease past Central Zone and into the final of the Deodhar Trophy, where they will take on West Zone. Having been put in to bat, North lost both openers cheaply but solid contributions from the middle order helped them set a competitive total. Central made a good start to their chase but Awana struck too many blows, including picking up the key wicket of Mohammad Kaif, to make sure of the win.
Bhuveneshwar Kumar accounted for Nitin Saini and Shikar Dhawan with just 28 on the board but Mandeep Singh and Paras Dogra set about reviving the innings. The pair accumulated 104 runs in 21.4 overs to create the platform for Yashpal Singh's assault. Yashpal clubbed three sixes and eight fours in his 83, which came from just 70 balls. He was well supported by Rajat Bhatia, who made 40 from 30. Together they added 79 from 10.2 overs. India offspiner Harbhajan Singh then threw his bat around as he and Yashpal ransacked a further 46 from just 4.2 overs. Shailender Gehlot limited the damage somewhat in the final over, picking up three wickets in four balls, starting with Yashpal.
Faced with a tall target, Central's openers raced to 48 from eight overs before Awana removed Jalal Saxena. Mohammad Kaif and Kumar (51) kept the scoreboard ticking over and at 169 for 3 after 33 overs, Central appeared to have paced their chase well. Awana, however, removed Kaif for 60 and then two overs later had Robin Bist caught for 11. When Menaria, who had advanced to 51 at better than a run-a-ball, was dismissed by Rishi Dhawan in the 40th over, the pendulum had swung North's way.
Udit Birla and Ashish Yadav struck some big blows but Awana was not to be denied, adding Birla, Piyush Chawla and Urvesh Patel to his bag to finish with 6 for 49 and ensure that North would face off against West in the final on March 19 in Dharamsala.