North blaze to Deodhar Trophy title
Mithun Manhas and Reetinder Sodhi scored blazing centuries to help North Zone retain the Deodhar Trophy title beating East Zone by 52 runs at Jaipur. With rain intervening, East reached 146 for 6 in 30.4 overs and once play failed to resume by the cut-off time, North were declared winners by the VJD method. It was another forgettable day for Sourav Ganguly, this time with the bat, dismissed for a first-ball duck, edging the ball to Pankaj Dharmani, the wicketkeeper, off Joginder Sharma.
Batting first, Sodhi joined Manhas with the score on 82 and the pair added 155 for the third wicket. Manhas scored 11 fours in his innings of 105 off 128 balls while Sodhi's undefeated 108 came at very nearly a run a ball, striking three sixes. North finished with 284 for 3 off 49 overs, with one over being reduced owing to damp conditions. The rain intervention made the task harder for East, faced with a much higher asking-rate. Abhishek Jhunjhunwala stood out for his undefeated 77 but was hampered by the lack of support from the other end. North were buoyed by the three-wicket haul by Vikram Rajvir Singh, the fast bowler who was excluded for the Mohali Test against England.
South Zone held their nerve, beating West Zone narrowly by two runs in a rain-curtailed Deodhar Trophy match at Udaipur and finishing runners-up in the tournament. Ajit Agarkar's fiery knock down the order gave South a real scare, but wasn't able to pull off any last-ball heroics, run-out off the last ball of the match. Agarkar finished with 76 off 40 balls with four boundaries and four sixes.
Overnight rain reduced the match to 33 overs per side and West's decision to insert the opposition backfired from the start, with openers Dinesh Karthik (66) and S Vidyut (56) scoring at a frenetic pace, bringing up the hundred in the thirteenth over. Ramesh Powar later struck back with two wickets in two balls to leave South at 145 for 4 but Hemang Badani (68*) and S Badrinath (47) played positively, adding 108 for the fifth wicket. Chasing 278, West looked out of contention at 145 for 7 before Yusuf Pathan (56) started the fightback. Zaheer Khan and Agarkar propelled their team close to the target with some lusty blows but fell short.