South Zone applied finishing touches to their superiority across the last four days, defeating West Zone by 75 runs to clinch the Duleep Trophy on Sunday. (More Cricket News)
Chasing 298 to win, West Zone, overnight 182/5, were bowled out for 222. Left-arm spinner Sai Kishore and pacer Vasuki Koushik were the pick of the bowlers for South Zone, sharing seven wickets among them.
This was South's 14th title win in the Duleep Trophy, and they will also count this as a sweet revenge. In the 2022 final, West had beaten South by 294 runs.
Priyank Panchal, who started the day on 92, was the biggest stumbling block in South's march to the title, and he could add only three runs this morning.
Panchal edged pacer Vidwath Kaverappa, who was later adjudged man of the match, to Ricky Bhui behind the stumps as West slipped to 189 for 6. Vidwath took the ball away from Panchal and the latter dangled his bat outside with fatal results.
The dismissal also ended their realistic chances of turning the match around.
There were moments of artificial excitement. Atit Sheth and Dharmendra Jadeja, who has a history of turning it on against South teams, added 23 runs for the eighth wicket.
The 54-minute stand helped West to go past the 200-run mark and they might have secretly hoped for a miracle.
But there was none this day. Washington Sundar settled nicely under the ball as Jadeja skied spinner Sai Kishore in his effort to clear the ring.
Thereon, it was just a matter of time. South's moment of glory came when Sheth lofted Sai Kishore straight into the hands of Washington at long on.
Sheth, perhaps, wanted to use the spread-out field to make some quick runs but could not find the distance with his shot.