Dhawan guides North to title
North Zone 340 (Bhatia 84, Yashpal 59, Trivedi 6-67) and 166 for 4 (Dhawan 94*, Bhatia 33*, Trivedi 2-42) beat West Zone 274 (Rahane 91, VRV Singh 5-91, Mishra 3-57) and 231 (Pathan 61, VRV Singh 5-86) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out
After having done all the hard work over the last three days, North Zone's batsmen ensured there would be no hiccups on the fourth morning, knocking off the 92 runs for the loss of just one wicket to lift their second Duleep Trophy in successive years, and their 47th in all. The first session at this ground has often been a tricky one for batsmen, but Shikhar Dhawan ensured North sailed through, applying himself superbly with an unbeaten 94 out of the target of 166 to seal the six-wicket win a minute before lunch.
Dhawan curbed his natural strokeplay in favour of solid batting, but still played some attractive shots to ensure that despite a strokeless innings from Yashpal Singh, who played 39 deliveries today without adding to his overnight score, the bowlers did not dictate play. It seemed the two were batting on two different pitches: Yashpal plonking a huge stride foot down the wicket and barely managing to survive while Dhawan was absolutely certain with his judgment outside off and did not succumb to the temptation of playing away from his body.
The day started serenely and the first boundary came in the sixth over when Dhawan square drove Sandeep Jobanputra to bring up his half-century. The field immediately fell back for Dhawan and he started picking off the singles and twos.
After Yashpal fell attempting his first attacking shot of the day - a lame drive straight to point - Rajat Bhatia came in and hastened the end of the game. The bowlers failed to make much of an impression, apart from the periods when Yashpal was batting.
The only point of contention towards the end was whether Dhawan would get his hundred. With 22 runs required and his score on 84, Dhawan pulled Ashraf Makda for a six and then managed three to retain the strike for the next over. After he took a single, Dhawan saw Rakesh Dhurv give away two leg-side boundaries, one to Bhatia and the other going for five wides. When Bhatia required six to reach 100, and North needed one to win, Makda bowled a no-ball to finish the match.
The win also meant two major successes in the same season for five players from Delhi - Aakash Chopra, Mithun Manhas, Dhawan, Bhatia (who rescued North in the first innings), and Chetanya Nanda had been part of the Ranji Trophy-winning squad as well. This was also a match to remember for VRV Singh, who took five wickets in each innings, taking his tally to 18 in two Duleep Trophy matches.
Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo