(Last Updated on : 17/12/2010)
The organisers of the Duleep Trophy, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selected five zonal teams from different geographical locations of India. The teams had participated in all the previous editions of the tournament and the West Zone and South Zone teams were considered as the most powerful among them. The West Zone won the tournament for six times and South Zone won it for four times till then, and they were also being considered as the top favourites for winning the Duleep Trophy, 1971-72. However, the other teams like East Zone, North Zone and Central Zone were also having the same objective of winning the championship title in the Duleep Trophy, 1971-72. As a result, the teams together presented a highly competitive tournament to the cricket enthusiasts of India.
The teams of Central Zone and North Zone played against each other in the first match of Duleep Trophy, 1971-72 and the match was held at Nagpur from 11-13 February, 1972. The North Zone team's captain, V Lamba won the toss and took the decision of batting first in the match. However, his decision was proved to be a completely wrong one, as the North Zone batsmen failed miserably and got all out for a petite score of only 85 runs in the first innings. None of the batsmen could stand in front of some brilliant bowling of Central Zone's two famous bowlers, R Tandon and S Durani, as they took 6 and 4 wickets, respectively in North Zone's first innings. Boosted up by the extraordinary performance of their bowlers, the Central Zone batsmen played wonderfully in their first innings and scored a huge total of 377 runs. The captain, H Singh scored a brilliant century of 117 runs and both the openers, S Singh and L Singh scored 59 runs, each in Central Zone's first innings. Trailing by a huge margin of 292 runs, the North Zone batsmen played better in their second innings, however, that did not help them in avoiding an innings defeat. The North Zone team could eventually score 275 runs in the second innings, before getting all out and thus, the Central Zone won the match with a margin of an innings and 17 runs. The Central Zone also entered into the Semi-Finals of Duleep Trophy, 1971-72 by winning this match.
The first Semi-Final of Duleep Trophy, 1971-72 saw the teams of East Zone and West Zone playing against each other at Jamshedpur from 11-13 February, 1972. Winning the toss, the West Zone captain, A Wadekar took the decision of batting first in the match and his decision was well supported by his batsmen. Three of the West Zone batsmen like S Gavaskar, R Parkar and A Mankad scored centuries for their team and helped West Zone getting a huge total of 449 runs in the first innings. While, Parkar played an innings of 131 runs, Gavaskar and Mankad scored 101 and 100 runs, respectively in West Zone's first innings. In reply to the huge first innings total of West Zone, the East Zone batsmen were finding it difficult to score against the West Zone bowlers. The East Zone captain, R Saxena became the top scorer for his team with 73 runs and helped his team get a moderate total of 215 runs in the first innings. As the East Zone team was trailing by more than 200 runs, the West Zone captain asked them to follow on in the second innings. By the time, the East Zone team reached the score of 78-3 in the second innings, the stipulated duration of the match got over and the match ended on a draw. The West Zone team won the match for having a lead in the first innings and also entered into the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1971-72.
The South Zone team played against the Central Zone team in the second Semi-Final of Duleep Trophy, 1971-72 and the match took place at Hyderabad from 25-27 February, 1972. As the captain of South Zone, S Venkataraghavan won the toss and decided to bat first in the match. While batting in their first innings, the South Zone batsmen showed a good performance and scored a total of 277 runs, before getting all out. Nawab of Pataudi became the top scorer for South Zone with 90 runs and M Jaisimha also played well to score 56 runs in the first innings. The Central Zone batsmen played extremely well in their first innings and scored a huge total of 309 runs to take a lead of 32 runs over South Zone. Both P Sharma and S Durani scored 83 runs, each for Central Zone and L Singh also scored 51 runs to help the team getting the lead. In the second innings, the South Zone batsmen failed to play well and got all out for only 143 runs. Only H Jayantilal showed some resistance for South Zone in the innings and he scored 53 runs to become the top scorer. Thus, the Central Zone needed only 112 runs in their second innings to win the match and they achieved the target, without much difficulty. Central Zone scored 114 runs after losing 5 wickets and thus, won the match with a good margin of 5 wickets to enter into the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1971-72.
The Central Zone and West Zone teams were involved in the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1971-72 and the two teams played the match at Bangalore from 11-14 March, 1972. Winning the toss, the West Zone skipper, A Wadekar took the decision of batting first in the match and got good support from his batsmen. The West Zone team scored a total of 279 runs in the first innings, thanks to three half centuries by H Kanitkar (57), Eknath Solkar (54) and M Rege (52). The Central Zone bowler, S Durani bowled brilliantly and took 6 wickets for 44 runs to restrict West Zone to the moderate total. The Central Zone batsmen found lot of difficulties in their first innings and got all out for only 200 runs. Among the Central Zone batsmen, only A Jagdale played well and scored 59 runs. Eknath Solkar took 6 wickets for 59 runs on behalf of West Zone in Central Zone's first innings. However, though the team was trailing by 79 runs in the first innings, still the Central Zone bowlers showed a wonderful performance in West Zone's second innings. They became successful to get all the wickets of West Zone for only 195 runs and as a result, the Central Zone needed 275 runs in the second innings to win the match. Chasing the target of 275 runs, the Central Zone batsmen kept their head calm and composed and eventually scored 277 runs, after losing 8 wickets. S Durani and P Sharma played two vital innings of 83 and 75 runs for Central Zone and helped their team to achieve the target, before the end of the match. Thus, the Central Zone team won the Final match with a margin of 2 wickets and also clinched the championship title in the Duleep Trophy, 1971-72, for the first time in the history of the tournament.