Dhawan guides North Zone to six wicket victory

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Mumbai, Feb 22 (UNI) Opener Shikhar Dhawan cracked a responsible unbeaten 94 and along with Rajat Bhatia ensured that there would not be any scares for North Zone as they defeated West Zone by six wickets to retain the trophy on the fourth day of the five-day Duleep Trophy match that ended at the Wankhede Stadium here today.

North Zone, which resumed at 74 for two needing a further 92 runs, knocked off the required runs losing Yashpal Sharma in the process to lift their overall 47th Duleep Trophy a minute before lunch, with Dhawan unbeaten on 94 and Rajat Bhatia unbeaten on 33.

It was the story of Dhawan, the attacking batsman, who curbed his natural aggression for the sake of his team in favour of solid batting to take North Zone to a comprehensive six-wicket victory with over a day and two sessions still left in the match.

Dhawan, however, still displayed his attacking prowess playing some attractive shots to ensure that despite a strokeless innings from Yashpal Singh, who played 39 deliveries today without adding to his overnight score, the bowlers did not dictate play.

The day started serenely and the first boundary came in the sixth over when Dhawan square drove Sandeep Jobanputra to bring up his half-century. The field immediately fell back for Dhawan and he started picking off the singles and the twos.

After Yashpal fell attempting his first attacking shot of the day - a lame drive straight to point of Ashraf Makda, Rajat Bhatia came in and hastened the end of the game. The bowlers failed to make much of an impression, apart from the periods when Yashpal was batting.

The only point of contention towards the end was whether Dhawan would get his hundred. With 22 runs required and his score on 84, Dhawan pulled Ashraf Makda for a six and then managed three to retain the strike for the next over. After he took a single, Dhawan saw Rakesh Dhurv give away two leg-side boundaries, one to Bhatia and the other going for five wides. When Bhatia required six to reach 100, and North Zone needed one to win, Makda bowled a no-ball to finish the match.

Following is the scoreboard: West Zone (First innings): 274 North Zone (First innings): 340 West Zone (Second innings): 231 North Zone (Second innings): (Overnight 73 for three) Akash Chopra lbw b Siddharth Trivedi 12 Shikhar Dhawan not out 94 Karan Goel c Parthiv Patel b Ashraf Makda 1 Mithun Manhas c Wasim Jaffer b Siddharth Trivedi 1 Yashpal Singh c Ajinkya Rahane b Ashraf Makda 15 Rajat Bhatia not out 33 Extras: (lb 1, w 5, nb 4) 10 Total: (4 wickets; 58.1 overs) 166 Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-39, 3-40, 4-103 Bowling: Siddharth Trivedi 20-11-42-2 Sandeep Jobanputra 18-05-51-0 Ashraf Makda 18.1-4-59-2 Rakesh Dhurv 2-0-13-0 UNI GS NM AB AS1650

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