April 12, 2002

West Zone draw at Eden Gardens to lift Duleep Trophy

Staff Reporter

The result of the Duleep Trophy match between West Zone and East Zone at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, may have been expected. What could not have been expected was the meek manner in which East Zone capitulated in their first innings on the final day.

Admittedly the cause was lost, for East Zone had no possibility of winning the match and thereby the Duleep Trophy. But the wet conditions at Kolkata had made the track particularly vicious, and Irfan Pathan junior and Ramesh Powar made full use of it.

Debang Gandhi was the first to depart, trapped in front by Pathan for just seven. Parag Das, who had retired hurt the previous evening, came back at the fall of Gandhi's wicket, but he could make only 12 before falling to the same bowler.

Pathan took four top-order wickets, and East were soon reeling at 51 for six. There then followed a 64-run stand for the seventh wicket between Zakaria Zuffri (44) and Lakshmi Rattan Shukla (48), the only resistance that East offered on the day.

Powar then swung into action, picking up the last six wickets for 35 runs and bowling East out for 162. The first-innings lead taken, and that too a mammoth one, West had secured at least five points from the encounter.

West Zone batted again, but their batsmen too could not come to terms with the pitch. Sanjay Raul and Sourashish Lahiri took two wickets each to have their opponents at 47 for four before play for the day was called off. But the Trophy has gone to West Zone, a testament to their consistent performances throughout the season.

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