(Last Updated on : 17-12-2010)
The five zonal teams that played against each other in the Duleep Trophy, 1976-77 included the likes of East Zone, West Zone, North Zone, South Zone and Central Zone. The organiser of the tournament, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selected the teams from five different geographical locations of India. The teams were mainly representing their respective geographical territories. The teams like West Zone and South Zone were considered as the top favourites for winning the trophy, as they had played well in the previous editions of Duleep Trophy. The desperate attempts of the teams to win the trophy made the Duleep Trophy, 1976-77 a real treat for the cricket enthusiasts.
The West Zone and East Zone teams played against each other in the first match of Duleep Trophy, 1976-77 and the two teams played the match at Ahmedabad from 22-25 October, 1976. The match saw the East Zone team batting first and scoring a huge total of 389 runs in their first innings. The famous batsman and also the skipper of East Zone, A Roy made an extraordinary century of 127 runs for his team. He also got good supports from P Poddar and P Nandy, who scored 64 and 59 runs, respectively. U Joshi took 5 wickets for 118 runs on behalf of West Zone in East Zone's first innings. In reply to the massive first innings total of East Zone, the West Zone team declared their first innings after reaching a score of 279-9. A Mankad made a wonderful century of 101 runs for West Zone and A Gaekwad also played well to score 50 runs in West Zone's first innings. The East Zone batsmen showed one of the poorest performances in their second innings, when they got all out for only 70 runs. The top class bowler of West Zone, P Shivalkar caused most of the damage to the East Zone batting line-up by taking 7 wickets for only 29 runs. However, as the East Zone was leading by 110 runs in the first innings, the target for West Zone in the second innings to win the match was set at 181 runs. Boosted by the extraordinary bowling performance by P Shivalkar, the West Zone batsmen played wonderfully in the second innings and reached the target by losing only 3 wickets. The West Zone scored 181-3 in the second innings and thus, won the match with a margin of 7 wickets to enter into the Semi-Finals of Duleep Trophy, 1976-77.
The first Semi-Final of Duleep Trophy, 1976-77 was played between the teams of North Zone and Central Zone and the match was held at Chandigarh from 22-25 October, 1976. Winning the toss, the captain of North Zone, B Bedi took the decision of batting first in the match. Bedi got wonderful support for his decision from his batsmen, as they scored a good total of 327 runs in the first innings. The opener, C Chauhan played an outstanding innings of 150 runs for North Zone and S Amarnath scored 67 runs to make his own contribution to the team's first innings total. While batting in their first innings, the Central Zone batsmen tried their best to surpass the North Zone's first innings total; however, they got all out only 2 runs behind. Central Zone scored 325 runs in the first innings, thanks to a century innings of 103 runs by P Sharma. S Durani and A Deshpande also played well to score 73 and 53 runs, respectively for their team. Having a lead of just 2 runs, the North Zone batsmen played well in their second innings also and scored a good total of 282 runs to set a target of 285 runs to win, for Central Zone. H Gidwani played well for North Zone in the second innings and scored 96 runs, while Madan Lal remained not out on 51 runs. The Central Zone team did not get enough time to chase the huge target of 285 runs to win the match, as the stipulated period of the match ended when Central Zone reaches the score of 95-3 in the second innings. The North 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 Final of Duleep Trophy, 1976-77.
The West Zone team played against the South Zone team in the second Semi-Final of Duleep Trophy, 1976-77 at Baroda from 30 October-02 November, 1976. The captain of South Zone, S Venkataraghavan decided to bat first in the match, after winning the toss and he got good support from his batsmen. The South Zone team scored a moderate total of 236 runs in the first innings, thanks to a fine knock of 85 runs from B Patel. K Ghavri picked up 5 wickets for 68 runs on behalf of West Zone in South Zone's first innings. The West Zone batsmen showed a wonderful batting display while batting in their first innings and scored a huge total of 418 runs to take a lead of 182 runs over South Zone. The opener and skipper of West Zone, S Gavaskar played an outstanding innings of 228 runs for his team. A good supporting innings of 58 runs from A Mankad helped West Zone to score the huge total. However, in spite of that innings of Gavaskar, B Chandrasekhar took 6 wickets for 153 runs for South Zone in West Zone's first innings. Trailing by 182 runs, the South Zone batsmen played well in their second innings and scored a good total of 308 runs, before getting all out. B Patel played a good century knock of 132 runs for his team that helped South Zone setting up a target of 126 runs to win for West Zone. When the West Zone team reached the score of 74-0 in the second innings, the match's stipulated period got over and it ended on a draw. The match officials declared the West Zone as the winner of the match for having a lead in the first innings and also allowed it to play in the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1976-77.
The Final of Duleep Trophy, 1976-77 saw the teams of West Zone and North Zone playing against each other at Baroda from 04-06 November, 1976. The North Zone team batted first in the match, after its captain, B Bedi won the toss and decided so. Batting first, the North Zone batsmen failed to score a good total and the team got all out for a small score of 175 runs in the first innings. P Shivalkar and U Joshi took 4 and 3 wickets, respectively for West Zone in North Zone's first innings. The West Zone batsmen showed some wonderful performances with the bat while batting in their second innings. They scored a huge total of 327 runs in the first innings, thanks to three wonderful knocks by Y Singh (93), D Vengsarkar (60) and S Gavaskar (51). The West Zone team took a huge lead of 152 runs over North Zone in the first innings. While batting with such a huge deficit, the North Zone batsmen never felt comfortable on the crease and they got all out for a score of 182 runs in their second innings. P Shivalkar again took 4 wickets for West Zone in North Zone's second innings. Chasing a target of only 31 runs to win, the West Zone batsmen reached it by losing only 1 wicket. West Zone scored 32 for 1 in the second innings and won the match by 9 wickets to clinch the championship title in Duleep Trophy, 1976-77.