(Last Updated on : 17/12/2010)
The Duleep Trophy, 1973-74 was played between five zonal teams, including the likes of the Central Zone, East Zone, West Zone, South Zone and North Zone. The teams were selected by the tournament organisers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from five different geographical locations of the country. All the five zonal teams had the same objective of winning the championship title in the Duleep Trophy, 1973-74; however, the West Zone and South Zone were the top favourites. The West Zone was the reigning champion in the tournament. However, the other teams like East Zone, Central Zone and North Zone were also not ready to leave even a single inch to the West Zone and South Zone, when it comes to winning the championship title. The determination of all the teams made the Duleep Trophy, 1973-74 a real delight for the cricket lovers, as the tournament saw some great competitive matches among the teams.
The first match of Duleep Trophy, 1973-74 was played between the teams of South Zone and East Zone and the match was held at Madras from 17-19 November, 1973. The captain of South Zone, S Venkataraghavan won the toss and decided to bat first in the match. The South Zone batsmen could not give much support to their captain's decision, as they got all out to a mere score of only 183 runs in their first innings. The two East Zone bowlers like D Doshi and A Shukla bowled brilliantly and took 4 wickets, each in South Zone's first innings. However, only M Abdul Hai showed some resistance on behalf of South Zone in the first innings, as he played a knock of 76 runs, the highest for South Zone in the innings. Though, the bowlers gave the team a solid start in the match, the East Zone batsmen failed to capitalise on the good start and failed to bat well in their first innings. They could score only 155 runs, before getting all out in the first innings.
S Mukherjee became the top scorer for East Zone in the first innings with 40 runs, while Abid Ali and B Chandrasekhar took 3 wickets, each for South Zone. Leading by 28 runs in the first innings, the South Zone team played much better in the second innings and got a good total of 302 runs. B Patel became the top scorer for his team by scoring 95 runs and M Abdul Hai gave him good support with an individual score of 93 runs. A Shukla once again took 4 wickets for East Zone in South Zone's second innings. The East Zone team thus needed 331 runs in the second innings to win the match, though they could not get that due to shortage of time. The stipulated duration of the match got over, when the East Zone team reached the score of 171-3 in the second innings and as a result, the match ended on a draw. The South Zone team was declared as the winner of the match for having a lead in the first innings and the team also entered into the Semi-Finals of Duleep Trophy, 1973-74, by winning the match.
The South Zone team played against Central Zone in the first Semi-Final of Duleep Trophy, 1973-74 and the match took place at Madras from 24-26 November, 1973. Winning the toss, the South Zone skipper, S Venkataraghavan invited the Central Zone team to bat first in the match. His decision was well supported by his bowlers, as they became successful to restrict Central Zone's first innings to a small score of only 155 runs. Venkataraghavan himself led his bowlers from the front and took 3 wickets for 45 runs. L Singh became the top scorer for Central Zone with 64 runs, while all the other batsmen failed to apply themselves on the crease. While batting in their first innings, the South Zone batsmen showed a miserable performance. They scored only 115 runs for seven wickets, before the match ended due to some unavoidable reasons. The match officials declared the Central Zone team as the winner of the match, on toss of a coin and also allowed it to enter into the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1973-74.
The second Semi-Final of Duleep Trophy, 1973-74 involved the teams like West Zone and North Zone and the two teams played the match at Pune from 01-03 December, 1973. The match saw the North Zone captain, B Bedi winning the toss and deciding to field first. Being put into bat first in the match, the West Zone batsmen showed a good performance and scored a moderate total of 248 runs in their first innings. Eknath Solkar was the top scorer for West Zone with 82 runs and A Wadekar and A Ismail scored 46 runs, each for their team. B Bedi took 4 wickets for 81 runs on behalf of North Zone. In reply to the first innings total of 248 runs by West Zone, the North Zone batsmen played quite well and scored a good total of 298 runs in their first innings. Madan Lal got the highest individual score of 79 runs for North Zone and V Sunderam also played well to score 67 runs in North Zone's first innings. P Shivalkar took 5 wickets for 74 runs on behalf of West Zone in North Zone's first innings. The West Zone team batted in the second innings with a deficit of 50 runs in the first innings. The West Zone captain, A Wadekar made a brave decision, when he declared the second innings on a score of 154-4, giving a target of 105 runs to win for North Zone. However, the North Zone team could not achieve the target before the match ended and they eventually scored 50 runs for 2 wickets, in their second innings. The North Zone team won the match on the basis of its lead in the first innings and it also reached the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1973-74 to play against Central Zone.
The North Zone and Central Zone teams played against each other in the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1973-74 and the match was held at Bombay from 07-10 December, 1973. The toss of the match was won by the North Zone captain, B Bedi and he took the decision of batting first in the match. The decision looked to be a right one, as the North Zone batsmen played well and got a good score of 270 runs on the scoreboard in their first innings. Madan Lal became the top scorer for his team with 69 runs and V Sunderam and S Amarnath also got their individual half centuries. The Central Zone batsmen faced a lot of troubles while replying to the first innings total of 270 runs of North Zone and they could score only 154 runs, before getting all out in their first innings. S Benjamin was the top scorer for Central Zone with 68 runs. Having a good lead of 116 runs in the first innings, the North Zone team failed to play well and got all out for only 162 runs in their second innings. Thus, the Central Zone team required 279 runs in the second innings to win the match. However, they failed to achieve the target and got all out for a score of 202 runs in their second innings. Thus, the North Zone team won the match with a good margin of 76 runs and also clinched the championship title in the Duleep Trophy, 1973-74.