(Last Updated on : 17/12/2010)
The Duleep Trophy, 1978-79 was the 18th edition of the tournament and is still considered as one of the most famous and fruitful domestic cricket tournaments in India. The tournament saw the participation of all the five zonal teams that had been participating in the tournament for the previous all editions. The teams were selected by the tournament organisers, BCCI from five different geographical locations of the country and they were actually selected according to the zonal format of Ranji Trophy. The teams were named as the Central Zone, East Zone, West Zone, North Zone and South Zone
The teams of Central Zone and South Zone played against each other in the first match of Duleep Trophy, 1978-79 and the match was held at Nagpur from 20-22 October, 1978. The captain of Central Zone, P Sharma won the toss and took the decision of batting first in the match. The Central Zone batsmen supported their captain's decision quite nicely and they scored a huge total of 427 runs in the first innings. The famous batsman, M Shahid and the captain, P Sharma became the top scorers for Central Zone with individual scores of 116 and 103 runs, respectively. A Deshpande also played wonderfully and scored 94 runs to help his team get the huge total on the scoreboard. Narasimha Rao took 5 wickets for 86 runs, on behalf of South Zone in Central Zone's first innings. The South Zone team faced a huge trouble while batting in the first innings, in reply to the huge first innings total of the Central Zone. None of the South Zone batsmen could play well and the team got all out for a mere score of 127 runs in the first innings. The Central Zone team scored a lower total of 215 runs in their second innings, as the South Zone bowlers bowled well. Adding the huge lead of 300 runs in the first innings, the Central Zone team set a target of 516 runs to win in the second innings, for South Zone. Getting the mammoth target was clearly looking to be impossible for the South Zone and though they tried well, they eventually got all out much behind the target. A good century innings of 100 runs by B Patel helped South Zone scoring 297 runs in the second innings, before getting all out. Thus, the Central Zone team won the match with a huge margin of 218 runs and also got into the Semi-Finals of Duleep Trophy, 1978-79.
The first Semi-Final of Duleep Trophy, 19778-79 was played between the teams of West Zone and Central Zone and the match took place at Bombay from 03-05 November, 1978. Winning the toss, the West Zone skipper, A Mankad decided to bat first in the match, though his batsmen failed to support him well. None of the West Zone batsmen could play well and as a result, the team's first innings ended on a petite score of 169 runs. R Hans bowled outstandingly on behalf of Central Zone in West Zone's first innings and he took 6 wickets for 60 runs. In reply to the small first innings total of West Zone, the Central Zone batsmen also failed to play well, but managed to get past their opponent's total. The Central Zone team scored 199 runs in the first innings, before getting all out and took a lead of 30 runs over West Zone. The West Zone batsmen showed a better batting display in the second innings and scored a good total of 253 runs. R Mankad became the top scorer for West Zone with 58 runs to his name, while S Shastri took 5 wickets for 74 runs, for Central Zone. As the team was leading by 30 runs in the first innings, the target for Central Zone in the second innings to win the match was set to 224 runs. However, the Central Zone batsmen failed miserably in the second innings and got all out for a minimum score of only 91 runs. None of the batsmen could play well for Central Zone and the West Zone bowlers like P Shivalkar, D Parsana and U Joshi caused all the damage to Central Zone's second innings. Thus, the West Zone team reached the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1978-79 by winning this match with a margin of 132 runs.
East Zone and North Zone were the teams that played against each other in the second Semi-Final of Duleep Trophy, 1978-79 and the two teams played the match at Calcutta from 17-20 November, 1978. The East Zone team batted first in the match, as its captain, R Saxena decided so after winning the toss. The East Zone batsmen failed to bat well in the first innings and got all out for a small score of 172 runs. Only, H Gidwani showed some resistance for East Zone, as he scored 50 runs to help his team get the score. R Goel bowled an outstanding spell of 6-65 for North Zone and helped his team in restricting East Zone's first innings to such a small total. After the bowlers successfully restricted the opponent's first innings to a minimum score, the North Zone batsmen did a great job with the bat and scored a huge total of 490 runs in their first innings. The opener, S Khanna and famous batsman, A Malhotra batted extremely well for North Zone and scored individual centuries for their team. While Khanna played a wonderful knock of 134 runs, Malhotra scored 106 runs to help North Zone take a huge lead of 318 runs over East Zone in the first innings. Playing with such a huge deficit, the East Zone batsmen never looked to be comfortable in the second innings and they eventually got all out for only 218 runs. The North Zone team won the match with a huge margin of an innings and 100 runs and also entered into the Final of Duleep Trophy, 1978-79 to play against West Zone.
The Final of Duleep Trophy, 1978-79 involved the teams like North Zone and West Zone and the match was held at Delhi from 15-18 March, 1979. The match saw the West Zone captain, A Mankad winning the toss and deciding to field first. Being put into bat first by the opponent captain, the North Zone batsmen did a great job and put on a huge total of 417 runs on the scoreboard in their first innings. The two famous batsmen, S Amarnath and S Khanna played the lead role in getting the team's huge total by scoring 89 and 87 runs, respectively. Y Sharma also played quite well and scored 78 runs for North Zone in the first innings. After North Zone put on such a huge total on the scoreboard, the West Zone batsmen failed to play well in their first innings and got all out for only 277 runs. S Gavaskar and R Jadeja did most of the scoring for West Zone, as they played two knocks of 130 and 97 runs, respectively. Kapil Dev bowled superbly for North Zone in West Zone's first innings and picked up 7 wickets for only 65 runs. Attaining a huge lead of 140 runs in the first innings, the North Zone batsmen played with a lot of confidence in their second innings and the captain declared the innings on a score of 263-8. The West Zone team needed 304 runs in the second innings to win the match, though it was quite impossible for them due to shortage of time. The stipulated duration of the match ended when West Zone reached the score of 102-2 and thus, the North Zone team won the drawn match for having a lead in the first innings. The North Zone team also clinched the championship title in Duleep Trophy, 1978-79, by beating West Zone in the drawn Final.