North Zone win Duleep Trophy

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> North Zone beat East Zone by six wickets to win the Duleep Trophy in Mumbai on Friday.

Updated: March 26, 2008 09:43 IST
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Holders North Zone needed just one session on Friday, the fourth day of the five-day Duleep Trophy final, to whip West Zone by six wickets and retain the inter-zonal championship for the second year running.

North, set to get 166 for a victory by West and starting the day at 74 for three, lost only one more wicket before coasting home on the strength of an unbeaten knock of 94 by opener Shikhar Dhawan.

Dhawan, overnight 44, did all the scoring in the first hour when his partner Yashpal Singh spent an unproductive hour at the crease at the Wankhede Stadium without adding any run before getting out to the 42nd ball he faced on Friday.

Dhawan, who struck 13 fours and a six in his 274-minute stay in which he faced 160 balls, and Rajat Bhatia (33 not out in 68 balls with five fours) put on 53 runs for the unbroken fifth wicket to see North home to a record 17th title triumph just on the stroke of lunch.

Ashraf Makda was the only successful bowler on Friday when he had the strokeless and runless Yashpal caught by Ajinkya Rahane after which North, who last won back-to-back titles in 1999-2000 and 2000-01, surged along to a comfortable victory.

North's first innings lead of 66 runs put them in the driver's seat from which they did not climb down. The champions received Rs 30 lakh and the runners-up Rs 15 lakh.

West Zone 274 and 231 lost to North Zone 340 and 166 for four (S Dhawan not out 94, R Bhatia not out 33; Sidharth Trivedi 2 for 42, Ashraf Makda 2 for 59).

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