Gavaskar and Dhoni take East Zone to a stunning win
East Zone 348 for 6 (Gavaskar 89*, Dhoni 87, Shukla 60) beat Central Zone 346 for 8 (Raina 129, Ali 100) by 4 wickets
East Zone salvaged some pride at the end of a disappointing Deodhar Trophy campaign with a high-voltage batting performance and hunted down a mammoth target of 347 at Rajkot. Mahendra Singh Dhoni got them off to a fantastic start with a fiery 87 off 67 balls before Rohan Gavaskar and Sanjib Sanyal carried on the momentum and took them closer to victory. Gavaskar's unbeaten 89 piloted them towards the target and East stunningly got home with an over to spare. Earlier, Suresh Raina and Syed Abbas Ali had propelled Central Zone to the massive total with both notching up splendid centuries. They added an exact 200 for the fourth-wicket stand as Central gave themselves a great chance of staying in contention for the trophy. The defeat, though, meant that they had no chance of winning the title.
North Zone 288 for 9 (Yuvraj 74, Gambhir 59, Jadeja 54) beat West Zone 201 (Parthiv 56) by 87 runs
A fine allround batting effort saw North Zone register their second win of the tournament, with a bonus point to boot, and head the points table at the end of the penultimate round of matches. Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Ajay Jadeja produced half-centuries and a surge towards the end boosted North to a healthy 288 at the end of their innings. West Zone, who could have sealed the championship with a victory, began solidly as Parthiv Patel anchored the chase with a cheeky 56. But a middle-order collapse, when they slumped from 160 for 3 to 201 all out, thwarted their hopes and North snapped up the bonus point and sneaked to the top of the table.
North now take on South Zone in the final league match on February 4 and a victory there will ensure them the title. West will need to beat Central on the same day at Rajkot and hope that North slip up in their encounter at Valsad. If West fail, though, South Zone could beat North and sneak the title through the back door.