Central lifts Duleep Trophy for the fifth time

Published: Thursday, March 10, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Nagpur:Central Zone lifted the Duleep Trophy for the fifth time when they beat lastyear's winners North Zone by nine wickets in a low-scoring five-day final that ended in just under two and a half days at the VCA stadium in Nagpur on Thursday.

Seasoned campaigners Sanjay Bangar, an India discard, and Test place challenger Mohd Kaif - their skipper, put on an unbroken stand of 89 runs for the second wicket to guide Central home to their fifth inter-zonal crown, ten minutes before lunch on the third day.

The lone batsman dismissed in the Central second innings, after they started the day at 0 for no loss needing 141 for victory, was opener Naman Ojha for 26 after he had put on 52runs for the first wicket with Bangar.

Bangar, displaying patience and fortitude with the bat when they were needed most after excelling with the ball in 16-time winners North's second innings to set up the victory,remained not out on 62 while Kaif was unbeaten on 48 in a total of 142 for one.

Central were indebted to Bangar whose 108-ball essay was laced with eight fours and two sixes.

The invaluable knock was in marked contrast to his blob in the first innings. It also came on top of his feat with the ball in grabbing 3 for 39 in the North second innings.

Kaif displayed great maturity with another responsible and gritty batting display. He faced 55 balls and played some crisp drives and later attributed his team's victory toexcellent team effort and good fielding.

Central had last won the title in the 1998-99 season.

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