With a comprehensive 100-run win over South Zone, North Zone powered their way into the final of the 2014 BCCI Prof D B Deodhar Trophy. After centurion Rajat Paliwal and Gurkeerat Singh salvaged the floundering North Zone innings with a 151-run partnership, their bowlers bowled out South Zone for 165 to claim victory.
Batting first, North Zone put up 265 for seven, after being reduced to 63 for four in the 21st over. South Zone captain Vinay Kumar, who has been in good form while representing his state team throughout the season, provided early breakthroughs to push NZ on the back foot. He claimed Gautam Gambhir for two, and followed up with the wicket of Nitin Saini six overs later. Five runs later, Mandeep Singh was run out. And a few overs later, Baba Aparajith trapped Prashant Chopra leg-before.
Chasing the 266-run target, South Zone got off to a good start with Robin Uthappa and Aparajith building a 72-run opening stand. Ishant Sharma gave NZ their first breakthrough by accounting for Aparajith’s wicket. Rishi Dhawan then claimed two in his next two overs to leave the opposition on 78 for three and tip the balance back in NZ’s favour. NZ bowlers continued to strike at regular intervals thereafter. After Dhawan accounted for Uthappa and Lokesh Rahul’s wicket, Harbhajan Singh and Rasool ran through the rest of the line-up to wrap up the SZ innings.
Harbhajan and Rasool claimed three wickets each, while Ashish Nehra took one to bowl North Zone to a victory in the semi-final clash.