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India Blue hold nerve to beat India Red

October 08, 2009 23:45 IST

Suresh Kumar scored a match-winning 87 to help India Blue beat India Red by one-wicket in a thriller at the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy cricket tournament in Nagpur.

Chasing a competetive total of 249, Suresh first shared a crucial 57-run fourth wicket stand with pinch-hitter Harbhajan Singh (36 off 36) and then added 55 alongwith Mahendra Singh Dhoni (37 off 40) to set the platform for the run chase.

Ishant Sharma and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja were the pick of the bowlers for India Red picking four and two wickets respectively.

Ishant answered his critics by picking up four wickets for 56 runs from his 10 overs, while Jadeja scalped two victims, giving away 36 runs.

Earlier, batting first India Red managed a competitive 248 in 44.4 overs.

Harshad Khadiwale was the top-scorer for India Red with a 51-ball 55. Ishant Jaggi too contributed with a useful 54.

For India Blue, Ashok Dinda and Harbhajan Singh picked up three wickets apiece, giving away 52 and 40 runs respectively to bowl out the Red team in 44.4 overs.

India Blue's run chase, however, did not start on a good note as they lost their first three wickets with team score at 49.

Harbhajan, who was sent up the order by Dhoni as a pinch-hitter made good use of the long handle by scoring quick runs. Dhoni chipped in with useful 37, hitting two fours in his 40-ball stay at the crease.

The match, however, went to the wire when Jadeja sent dangerman Yusuf Pathan's (15) back to the pavilion with India Blue needing 24 more runs to win with three wickets in hand.

The matter got worse for India Blue when Jalaj Saxena was caught by Khadiwale off Aswin in the last ball of the 47th over.

But Dinda and Siddharth Trivedi played sensibly and without going for any extravagant shot, and quietly picking up singles and couples to snatch the victory with three balls to spare.

Earlier, electing to bat, India Red made an explosive start to their innings with Shikhar Dhawan (39 off 39 balls) and Murali Vijay (44 off 35) putting on 79 runs for the opening wicket in just 10 overs.

Vijay was the first to depart, caught by Naman Ojha off Harbhajan in the 11th over but not before hitting four boundaries and two sixes.

Twenty runs later Dhawan too joined his opening partner in the dressing room, giving Ojha his second catch of the day off Siddharth Trivedi's bowling. He struck four fours in his run-a-ball innings.

But from there on Khadiwale and Jaggi played cautiously to add 49 runs for the fourth wicket and set the platform for the total.

The dangerous looking partnership was finally broken by Dinda when he held Khadiwale at the hands of Kedar Jadhav.

India Red's lower order failed to capitalise on the platform set by their top order as apart from Ravindra Jadeja (22 off 38) R Aswin (11 off 20) could score double figures.

Brief Scores

India Red 248 in 44.4 overs (Khadiwale 55, Jaggi 54; Harbhajan 3/40, Dinda 3/52)

India Blue 250 in 49.3 overs (S Kumar 87, MS Dhoni 37; Ishant 4/56, Jadeja 2/36)

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