Hyderabad: Bhuvneshwar Kumar played the innings of his first-class career as Central Zone made it to the Duleep Trophy final for the second successive year as they beat North Zone by virtue of 18-run first innings lead.
Central Zone scored 469 in reply to North's 451 riding on an astonishing 127-run 10th wicket partnership between Bhuvneshwar who hit a career-best 128 and Rituraj who chipped in with 39.
The match as contest was over when Bhuvneshwar scored two runs off Ishant Sharma to give his team an all-important lead.
It was after Rituraj had hit another Delhi speedster Parvinder Awana for two boundaries to level the scores.
Bhuvneshwar hit 13 fours and three sixes in his innings.
"It was one of the best innings of my first-class career. I am happy that I have been able to win it for my team," Bhuvneshwar told PTI during an interaction after the match.
The young UP all-rounder can be attributed for taking a bit of sheen off Yuvraj Singh's classic effort but on his own admission, he wasn't thinking about the star cricketer's innings.
"Not really. You don't think about some other player's game when you go out there to bat. I was only thinking about how long can I bat. And if you talk about pressure, it was there today as we needed only 10 runs. Yesterday, we batted freely," Bhuvneshwar replied.
However the hero of Central's victory didn't forget to mention that it was a flat track which made batting look very easy.
"It was a very flat track to bat on," he stated.
Revenge will be on Bhuvneshwar's mind when they meet East in Chennai from October 21.
"Obviously, this is a match that we would like to win having lost during the last edition," said the man who plays for Pune Warriors in the IPL and likes to be identified as an all-rounder.
For the record, North made 187 for four in the second innings as opener Rahul Dewan made 80. Yuvraj Singh didn't come out to bat during the 52 overs. Central were given a target of 170 runs but after 13 overs, the two captains decided to call off the proceedings.
Brief Scores: North 451 & 187/4 (R Dewan 80).
Central Zone: 469 in 154.1 overs (Bhuvneshwar Kumar 128, Mahesh Rawat 71, Mohammed Kaif 64, Rituraj Singh 39 no, R Dhawan 3/66) & 39/1.
Central in final by virtue of 1st innings lead.