West cruise to eight-wicket victory
West Zone 282 (Pawar 56, Bose 4-70) & 90 for 2 (Parthiv 54*) beat East Zone 171(Parida 63, Pawar 6-34) & 200 (SS Das 56, Kulkarni 3-50, Trivedi 3-66) by eight wickets
West Zone marched into the Duleep Trophy final for the second year in a row after completing a comprehensive eight-wicket victory against East Zone. Chasing a small target of 90, after East had fallen for 200 in the second innings, West reached the target nearly an hour before tea on the third day in Mumbai.
East had themselves to blame for a dismal performance. Their batsman lacked both application and intent, and failed in both innings. They had lost two wickets - the captain Shiv Sunder Das and Rashmi Parida - late on the second evening, and appeared vulnerable at the start of the third day even though they had seven wickets in hand.
Beginning the day on 128 for 3, East were relying on the two Tiwarys - Manoj and Saurabh - to mount a challenge after their bowlers, led by Ranadeb Bose, had worked hard to deny West a match-winning lead, restricting it to 111. Manoj and Saurabh had failed in the first innings, scoring 13 and 24, and once again their impatience proved their undoing.
Saurabh started the day with a strong cover drive to the boundary but he soon tried to push at an away-going delivery from Siddharth Trivedi without getting behind the line and edged to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. And for the second time in the match, Manoj's fragile defence was exposed. Another outswinger from Trivedi found the edge to Wasim Jaffer at first slip. Trivedi should have had his third wicket when he forced another edge from Halhadar Das off a short ball which lifted more than the batsman expected. It was a slightly difficult chance but Parthiv should have held it after he threw himself to his right.
Dhawal Kulkarni squatted and held his head in disbelief in the next over when Parthiv dropped two sitters off the first and the fourth ball, both off Halhadar. It would have been a travesty had Halhahar prospered but that did not happen because Jaffer took a shoulder-high catch in Trivedi's next over. Though Wriddhiman Saha and Bose tried their best to delay defeat, East were bundled out an over before lunch.
West had plenty of time to complete the chase but Jaffer and Ajinkya Rahane fell while trying to score quickly. However, Parthiv scored a half-century and ensured the target was achieved without further loss. He finished the game in style, with consecutive cover drives off part-time legspinner Manoj Tiwary, and was unbeaten on 54 while Cheteshwar Pujara finished on 1.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo