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India Red storm into Challenger final

Last updated on: October 12, 2011 00:07 IST

India Red stormed into the final of the NKP Salve Challenger Series after thrashing India Green by eight wickets in a rain-hit second match of the tournament in Nagpur on Tuesday.

It was second win for India Red in as many days, having defeated India Blue in the series-opener on Monday.

The Gautam Gambhir-led side dismissed India Green for a paltry 170 in only 37.5 overs after opting to field, and then easily overhauled the revised target of 152 with 78 balls to spare.

India Red were given 42 overs to achieve the target.

Part-time offie Yusuf Pathan was the pick of the India Red bowlers, grabbing four for 25 in only 7.5 overs.

While chasing, Gambhir led from front with a 53-ball 57, as he laid the platform for the easy win by putting on 100 runs for the first wicket along with Abhinav Mukund (61).

He was dropped by Mohammed Kaif off pacer Abhimanyu Mithun when on just 14. India Green had to pay for the mistake.

Kaif, who is a reliable fielder, knew what blunder he had committed as Gambir smashed Harbhajan for a six and a four in the next over and continued to find boundaries during his stay at the wicket.

India Red were 45 for no loss in eight overs when the skies opend up and stopped play.

On resumption, Mithun finally got Gambhir, who lofted one straight to Ishwar Chaudhary at mid-off.

Gambhir's knock was studded with six fours and a six; Mukund also hit as many boundaries and took 70 balls for his innings before being caught and bowled by Chaudhary.

Ambati Rayudu (16) and Yusuf Pathan (7) the steered the side home without any hiccup.

India Red will take on the winner of Wednesday's match between India-Green and India-Blue in Thursday's final.

There was a dramatic batting collapse earlier, as Indian Green lost 10 wickets for only 70 runs after a blazing start from Robin Uthappa (56) and Aniruddha Srikkanth (37).

The duo added 100 runs in the first 15 overs before Uthappa's impetuosity brought about his downfall.

Trying to give MP medium pacer Taduri Sudhindra the charge, the burly opener found himself caught at long-on. Uthappa played only 47 balls and hit eight fours and a six.

His dismissal started the collapse as another three wickets fell with the addition of 14 runs.

T20 specialist T Suman (0) charged out to Pathan and was promptly stumped. Aniruddha then edged one to Wriddhiman Saha behind stumps, and after Mohnish Mishra (2) was run-out, India Green had slumped to 114 for four.

Mohammed Kaif, who returned to the Challenger fold, scored a painstaking 29, adding 36 runs with wicketkeeper CM Gautham (19).

The last six wickets fell for the addition of only 20 runs, Gautham's

mistimed sweep leading the procession.

Skipper Harbhajan Singh (0) tried an audacious sweep shot off Jalaj Saxena and was caught at third man.

The most interesting aspect of India Green's innings was seven wickets that were shared between three spinners Yusuf, Jalaj Saxena (two for 39) and Chawla (one for 38) despite two new balls being used from both ends.

Scorecard

India Green:
R Uthappa c Pankaj b Sudhindra 56
S Anirudha c Saha b Sudhindra 37
TL Suman st Saha b Pathan 0
M Kaif c Sudhindra b Pathan 29
MD Mishra run out 2
CM Gautam c Pathan b Chawla 19
H Singh c Sudhindra b Saxena 0
I Abdulla c Pathan b Saxena 1
S Narwal not out 3
A Mithun c sub (JD Unadkat) b Pathan 10
IH Chaudhary c Saha b Pathan 0
Extras: (lb-3, w-9, nb-1) 13
Total: (all out in 37.5 overs) 170

Fall of wickets: 1-100, 2-101, 3-107, 4-114, 5-150, 6-152, 7-154, 8-158, 9-169.

Bowling: RP Singh 4-0-16-0, Pankaj Singh 6-0-25-0, Pathan 7.5-0-25-4, Jalaj S Saxena 7-0-39-2, Sudhindra 6-1-24-2, Chawla 7-0-38-1.

India Red:
A Mukund c & b Chaudhary 61
G Gambhir c Chaudhary b Mithun 57
A Rayudu not out 16
Y Pathan not out 7
Extras: (lb 2, w 8, nb 1) 11
Total: (for two wickets; 29 overs) 152
Did not bat: S Dhawan, W Saha, P Chawla, Jalaj Saxena, R P Singh, T Sudhindra, Pankaj Singh.

Fall of wickets: 1-100, 2-137.

Bowling: Mithun 8-0-42-1 (1nb, 4w),I Chaudhary 6-0-21-1 (1w), Harbhajan 4-0-32-0, S Narwal 5-0-28-0 (1w), I Abdulla 5-0-25-0 (1w), M Kaif 1-0-2-0.

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