A brilliant unbeaten ton by wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik helped India Blue win the N K P Salve Challenger Trophy after a six-wicket victory over India Red at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, at Motera near Ahmedabad, on Sunday.
Chasing 270 for victory, India Blue reached the target in just 41 overs for the loss of four wickets.
Coming to the crease with his side precariously placed at 55 for three in the ninth over, Karthik's innings had aggression written all over it after he spanked the first ball he faced for four. He went on to forge a 47-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Suresh Raina.
After Raina (50 in 45 balls with nine fours) departed with the team's score on 102 for four, Karthik (116 not out in 92 balls) took on the mantle of the chase and clubbed together an unbeaten 168-run partnership with Neeraj Patel.
Both batsmen scored over six runs per over and saw their team cross the 200 mark in the 33rd over.
Karthik, who was dropped on his individual score of 42, reached his 100 in 83 balls, spanking 11 fours and two sixes.
Patel scored an unbeaten 62 run in 70 balls.
Earlier, Gautam Gambhir hit a sparkling 83 and shared a 111-run partnership with S Badrinath to help India Red set a challenging target.
Thanks to Gambhir's knock, they scored 269 all out in 49.3 overs after electing to bat first.
Gambhir held one end intact after India Red suffered early setbacks by losing opener Praveen Kumar (1), Karan Goel (4) and skipper Mohammed Kaif (22) early.
The Delhi left-hander played some gutsy shots striking seven fours and a six during his 77-ball stay at the crease.
He and Badrinath (55) repaired the innings and took the score past the 150-run mark.
India Blue spinners then caused a mini-collapse, as Amit Mishra dismissed Gambhir and clean bowled Virat Kohli for a duck. Virender Sehwag then scalped Paresh Patel in the very next over.
However, Badrinath and wicketkepeer Mahesh Rawat (43 not out) ensured that their team reached a fighting total.
Mishra was the most successful bowler for India Blues. He claimed three wickets for 45 runs. Joginder Sharma and Yo Mahesh claimed two wickets each.
Praveen Kumar b J Sharma 1
G Gambhir c J Sharma b Amit Mishra 83
Karan Goel lbw b J Sharma 4
M Kaif c A Rahane b R Bose 22
S Badrinath lbw b Yo Mahesh 55
Virat Kohli b Amit Mishra 0
Paresh Patel lbw b V Sehwag 0
Mahesh Rawat not out 43
S Munde st D Karthick b A Mishra 18
P Ojha c V Sehwag b Yo Mahesh 20
S Trivedi run out 5
Extras: (lb9, w8, nb1) 18
Total: (all out in 49.3 overs) 269
Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-11, 3-47, 4-158, 5-158, 6-159, 7-191, 8-219, 9-252.
Bowling: R Bose 10-0-53-1, Joginder Sharma 7-0-41-2, Yo Mahesh 9.3-0-56-2, Ramesh Powar 8-0-34-0, Amit Mishra 10-0-45-3, Virender Sehwag 5-0-31-1.
V Sehwag c & b Mundhe 1
A Rahane run out 20
A Yadav run out 6
S Raina b Trivedi 50
D Karthik not out 116
N Patel not out 62
Extras: (lb-2, w-13) 15
Total: (for four wickets in 41 overs) 270
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-22, 3-55, 4-102
Bowling: P Kumar 9-0-52-0, S Mundhe 5-0-34-1, S Trivedi 6-1-44-1, P Ojha 9-0-60-0, S Badrinath 2-0-17-0, P Patel 7-0-36-0, M Kaif 1-0-7-0, K Goel 2-0-18-0.