Dinda, Manoj Tiwary power East Zone to title
East Zone 269 for 8 (Manoj 75, Samantray 60, Virat 54) beat West Zone 245 (Jadhav 97, Dinda 4-33) by 24 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It is often said these days that the advent of Twenty20 has made one-dayers boring. However, for the second time in three days, the exciting nature of one-day cricket was brought to the fore, as East Zone ended their decade-long drought of winning the Deodhar Trophy with a 24-run victory against defending champions West Zone at the Wankhede Stadium.
Ashok Dinda, who made his first-class debut well after East Zone won their last Deodhar title in 2003-04, starred with the ball to help his team defend a total of 269 for 8. Thanks to Dinda's four-wicket haul, East bowled out West Zone for 245 in 47.2 overs.
At the start of the batting Powerplay, West Zone were well on course to pocketing their fourth successive Deodhar title. With Kedar Jadhav closing in on a deserving century and Suryakumar Yadav playing a perfect fiddle, West Zone were left needing just 97 runs off the last 15 overs, with plenty of wickets still in hand.
Once Jadhav cut loose after being dropped at long-on by Kumar Deobrat off offspinner Saurasish Lahiri in the 33rd over, West Zone looked in complete control of the game. Jadhav continued the onslaught into the Powerplay, creaming the first ball off Veer Pratap Singh through covers off and glancing the next one to the fine-leg fence.
But from then on, the East Zone bowlers, led by Dinda, pulled things back as they stifled the set batsmen. The efforts paid rich dividends as Jadhav missed a tired swat off the last ball of the Poweplay off Biplab Samantray to see it crashing into the off-stump. With the Powerplay going for just 22 runs, East Zone had an upper hand going into the last 10 overs.
When Yusuf Pathan was run out due to a terrible misunderstanding with Suryakumar in the 43rd over, West Zone required 65 off 47 balls. The wicket brought Suryakumar and Akshar Patel together, and the duo was required to replicate their heroics from Monday if West Zone were to retain the title. Akshar started from where he had left off in the semi-finals, stroking three successive fours off Samantray immediately after arriving at the wicket.
Just as West Zone were starting to regain control of the game, though, Akshar's attempted sweep off Shahbaz Nadeem rested in Manoj Tiwary's hands at square leg in the last ball of the 45th over. Forty needed off the last five overs then.
Shardul Thakur, who sealed the semi-finals with his clean hitting, came to the crease and pulled Veer Pratap over the square-leg fence off the first ball he faced. He followed it up with a lofted straight drive for a boundary that brought the equation down to 29 runs off 27 balls. However, the next ball was a full toss slightly outside off stump and Thakur cut it straight to Virat Singh at point.
It meant that Suryakumar, who till then had not hit a single boundary, had to shift gears and see his team through. But his overcautious stint ended as Dinda enticed him into a drive and Suryakumar offered Saurabh Tiwary a regulation catch at covers, ending any hopes West Zone had of retaining the title.
Dinda, on his part, had already made a telling contribution before by rattling West Zone's top order. He first forced the openers Smit Patel and Sheldon Jackson to nick behind, prompting the captain Manoj to give him an extra over even after the conclusion of the mandatory Powerplay. The move worked, as Dinda, after being hit for successive boundaries, forced Rayudu to chase a wide one and edge it to Shreevats Goswami behind the stumps. It left West Zone reeling at 37 for 3.
Besides that inspired tactic, Manoj had earlier staged yet another rescue act in the first innings. For the third time in succession, East Zone lost their openers cheaply. And for the third time in succession, Manoj staged a recovery with his fifth successive fifty-plus score. He found much-needed support in the teenager Virat, as the duo stitched together a 135-run partnership for the third wicket to stabilise the innings. Once the platform was set, Samantray counterattacked in the death overs. The last 10 overs fetched 81 runs, helping East put on a respectable, and as it turned out, match-winning total.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo