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India Red upset India Blue
October 01, 2006 21:58 IST
Last Updated: October 02, 2006 01:59 IST
Master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar's heroic effort went in vain as India Reds pulled off sensational 21-run victory, with 15 balls to spare, over favourites and holders India Blues in the first match of the Challenger series for the N K P Salve trophy in Chennai on Sunday.
Set to score a none-too daunting target, the Aen in blue suffered the familiar collapse after Tendulkar and Sehwag provided a great start. The Blues, virtually the senior's team, slumped to 259 all out in 47.3 overs after the Reds were all out for 280 in 50 overs.
It was vintage Tendulkar on show as the world's highest run-getter in both forms of the game, cut, drove and swept with finesse.
Such was Sachin's blitzkrieg that his performance reduced his Virender Sehwag into a mere spectator. The men in red appeared to be in the ''red'' when Tendulkar exposed their bowling attack.
Continuing from where he left in the DLF series in Malaysia, Tendulkar hit his shots. He twice picked Sreeshant, hitting him for a pulled six and a flicked four in one over and then giving him the charge to score like a tennis-like shot six over the long on.
Sehwag on the other hand rightly played second fiddle before he twisted his ankle that required about five minutes medical attention.
Team sources said that Sehwag will be under observation for the next 24 hrs and will be a doubtful starter for the all important game against India Green, in which Sourav Ganguly will be playing.
''We have to see how his (Sehwag) injury heals'', the sources said.
Sehwag, badly looking to get back to form ahead of the Champions Trophy, and Tendulkar added 96 for the first wicket in 16 overs before the familiar Indian collapse unfolded, putting the innings in tatters.
Sehwag (28, 87 min, 36 balls, 2x4) ran himself out and Tendulkar (61, 95 min, 70 balls, 7x4, 2x6) was caught brilliantly by a forward-diving Venugopala Rao at short covers off Zaheer Khan.
Skipper Rahul Dravid (1) was trapped in front by V R V Singh, who also dismissed M S Dhoni (6) as the men in blue were staring down the barrel.
It was the judicious use of power play by Indian Reds' Venugopala Rao that brought them back into the match. The second power play was taken after 16 overs and it paid rich dividends as India Blues lost four wickets in a space of 14 runs, collapsing from 96 for no loss in 16.1 overs to 110 for four in 20.4 overs.
The innings was revived by a 79-run fifth wicket stand between Yuvraj Singh (57, 59 balls, 6x4), who was striking the ball well, and Dinesh Mongia (26, 47 balls, 2x4). However, the exit of Mongia and Yuvraj in quick succession brought the Reds back into contention.
The exit of Irfan Pathan, who had just hit a six off Ramesh Powar, fuelled their hopes of an upset victory as the asking rate climbed to eight runs an over. Ravindra Jadeja (11) and Ajit Agarkar (6) too departed quickly as Reds sensed victory.
A pulled six by Harbhajan Sing off Sreesanth revived hopes, albeit briefly and only narrowed down the margin as Harbhajan miscued a shot to signal Red's victory.
Bowling: Irfan Pathan 10-0-55-3 Munaf Patel 10-1-49-3 Ajit Agarkar 10-0-57-2 Harbhajan Singh 10-0-58-0 Dinesh Mongia 5-0-29-0 Virender Sehwag 2-0-13-0 Ravindra Jadeja 3-0-18-0.
Fall of wickets: 1-96, 2-102, 3-102, 4-110, 5-189, 6-207, 7-227, 8-236, 9-247, 10-259.
Bowling: Zaheer Khan 8.3-0-34-2 Sreeshanth 9-3-58-0 Murali Kartik 10-0-45-2 Ramesh Powar 10-0-68-0 V R V Singh 10-0-49-3.