A file photo of Cheteshwar Pujara. (AFP Photo)
Visakhapatnam: A clinical all-round performance took West Zone to their third successive Deodhar Trophy as they registered a comprehensive 133-run win over North Zone in the final on Thursday.
Riding on Kedar Devdhar's 94 and skipper Cheteshwar Pujara's patient half-century, West Zone posted a challenging 281 for three in 50 overs. Spinners Arpit Vasavada (3/20) and Akshar Patel (2/23) were the pick of the bowlers as they bundled out North Zone for 148 in 37.1 overs at the YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here.
The North Zone never got the partnerships they required to overhaul the target, with best being a 48-run effort between Nitin Saini (32) and Gautam Gambhir (13) for the opening wicket. Mandeep Singh (37) was the highest run-scorer for the Harbhajan Singh-led side as wickets continued to fall at regular intervals.
Other wicket-takers for West Zone were Jaydev Unadkat (1/40), Jasprit Bumrah (1/31) and Dhawal Kulkarni (1/32).
Earlier, opener Devdhar, who fell short of his third first-class century, put on a 144-run stand with skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (75) to build a strong foundation after Parthiv Patel (13) departed early. A late blitz from Yusuf Pathan (32 not out off 21 balls) in company of Ambati Rayadu, who made unbeaten 46 from 39 deliveries, took West Zone to a fighting total.
While Pujara took 114 balls for his knock that included four fours and a six, right-handed Devdhar smashed nine boundaries and a maximum in his 101-ball effort. Rayadu's five fours and Pathan's two boundaries and as many sixes provided the impetus as North Zone bowlers struggled to take wickets.
Pacer Rishi Dhawan (2/46) picked two scalps for North Zone, while one wicket went to veteran Ashish Nehra (1/49).
West Zone: 281 for 3 in 50 overs (Kedar Devdhar 94, Cheteshwar Pujar 75; Rishi Dhawan 2/46)
North Zone: 148 all out in 37.1 overs (Mandeep Singh 37, Nitin Saini 32; Arpit Vasavada 3/20).