West Zone 157 and 175 for 5 (Martin 52*) beat East Zone 150 and 181 by 5 wickets
Blunting the threat from the East Zone bowlers, West overcame some jittery moments and claimed their 16th Duleep Trophy title after a five-wicket win in the final at Ahmedabad. Chasing a tricky 175 for victory, on a pitch where all the batsmen found the going tough, West were limping at 35 for 3 before Jacob Martin, the former Indian middle-order batsman, came to their rescue.
Martin, who currently leads Baroda, battled for nearly three-and-a-half hours and ground out a crucial 52 as West inched towards the target. He received support from Ramesh Powar and Parthiv Patel, who both contributed plucky 30s, as West crossed the tape a few minutes after tea on the third day.
The game was on an even keel at the halfway stage, with West gaining a marginal seven-run lead in the first innings, but Zaheer Khan's fiery spell on the second afternoon, when he snapped up four wickets including Sourav Ganguly for a golden duck, proved vital. Sairaj Bahutule, West Zone's captain, wrapped up the tail and left their solid batting line-up with 175 to get.
East, who have never won the Duleep Trophy, didn't surrender without a fight with Shib Shankar Paul, the Bengal medium-pacer, claming two quick wickets. But Martin ensured that West didn't collapse again and East, for the second time in three years, were thwarted at the final hurdle.