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CHAMPION STUFF: Central Zone clinched the Deodhar Trophy with a commanding performance.
CHAMPION STUFF: Central Zone clinched the Deodhar Trophy with a commanding performance.

Principal Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Central Zone emerged winner of the Deodhar Trophy though its final round match against East Zone was washed out following heavy rains at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium (Uppal) here on Sunday.

With the entire venue waterlogged and no chance of play, the decision to abandon the match was taken in the morning itself.

Central finished its engagements with 17 points from four games, including two from Sunday’s abandoned tie, to take an unassailable lead. East has five from three and has one match to go. This is Central’s fifth title triumph, having won in 1976-77, 1994-95, 1998-99 and 2000-01 (jointly with South).

In the inconsequential final round matches on March 26, East takes on North at Visakhapatnam while South meets West in Bangalore.

Kaif delighted

Mohd. Kaif, Central captain, was delighted at the way things went for his team in this edition. “It always gives me great satisfaction to win a national tournament and that too India’s premier domestic limited-overs tournament,” he told The Hindu.

“The credit goes to the entire team, as it was a collective effort. The bowlers came up with fine performances, especially in the early overs, in all the matches,” Kaif said.

“Definitely, we would have loved to finish off with a victory today but we could do nothing in this weather. The fact that we are the champions is also an indication of how Central has emerged not only as a major force in Indian cricket but also as a provider of talented cricketers like Praveen Kumar, Suresh Raina and Piyush Chawla,” he added.

“We believe that this win in the Deodhar Trophy will further boost the young talent in the zone. My only desire is that cricket produces heroes from other centres of the zone too, and not just from Uttar Pradesh,” Kaif said.

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