The competitive interest of the Duleep Trophy semifinal between North Zone and Central Zone at Guwahati ended after 11.3 overs play on the final morning on Monday. Central Zone already in a hopeless situation at stumps on Sunday at 328 for seven in reply to North Zone's first innings total of 543, were all out for 366. In the remaining time two principal North Zone batsmen Pankaj Dharmani and Rajiv Nayyar got some good practice for the final as the team scored 222 for four wickets.
Central Zone's last bastion of strength Raja Ali fell to the tenth ball of the morning. Ali just added one run to his overnight score before he was caught by Mongia off Navdeep Singh for 123. Gandhe who had retired hurt on Sunday came back to resume his innings. Shortly afterwards Zaidi was caught by Dharmani off Robin Singh for 21. And the same bowler ended the innings a little later by bowling Gandhe for 18. Robin Singh finished with a fine haul of five for 84 off 38 overs.
With a lead of 177 runs on the first innings, North Zone's entry into the final was assured. But Zaidi and Yadav injected some artificial excitement into the proceedings by dismissing Ashu Dani, skipper Vikram Rathour and Reetinder Singh Sodhi with only five runs on the board. However both the in form batsmen Dharmani and Nayyar came together in a fourth wicket partnership that ultimately realised 217 runs from 67 overs. At the fall of Nayyar's wicket - he was out for 88 after batting 258 minutes, facing 211 balls and hitting ten foursplay was called off. Dharmani remained unbeaten with 121 made in 4-1/2 hours. He faced 203 balls and hit 20 of them to the ropes.
North Zone now meet traditional rivals West Zone in the five day final commencing at Calcutta from Dec 17.