Bipul, Dhawan steer North Zone into final

North Zone 211 for 2 (Dhawan 85*, Kohli 66) beat East Zone 210 (Patel 65, Saha 58, Bipul 5-36) by eight wickets

Left-arm spinner Bipul Shah and opener Shikhar Dhawan combined to take North Zone into the final of the Deodhar Trophy, as they beat East Zone comprehensively by eight wickets in Vadodara.

After asking East to bat, North struck at regular intervals to cut through the line-up despite a half-century from Paresh Patel. Persistent strikes by Bipul, who grabbed a five-for, Joginder Sharma and Jaskaran Singh had limited East to 133 for 8 at one stage, but wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (58) and captain Debasis Mohanty (16) staged a fightback with a 57-run stand for the ninth wicket to help take their side to 210.

However, the effort proved woefully inadequate in the wake of a dominating response from the North batsmen. They lost opener Rahul Dewan with the score on 34, but Virat Kohli (66) supported Dhawan in a stand of 112 for the second wicket. Kohli was the more aggressive of the two, striking 11 fours in his 54-ball knock. Mandeep Singh then joined Dhawan to complete the formalities, remaining unbeaten on 32 while his partner went on to make 85, as the victory was sealed in the 38th over.

Central Zone take on West Zone in the second semi-final in Vadodara on March 8.

North Zone 2nd innings Partnerships

1st34S DhawanR Dewan
2nd112S DhawanV Kohli
3rd65S DhawanMandeep Singh