Ajinkya Rahane's struggles in limited-overs’ cricket continued as India B comfortably beat India C by 30 runs to enter the Deodhar Trophy final, in New Delhi, on Wednesday.
It was Hanuma Vihari's fighting half-century under pressure that propped India B to 231 for 9 in 50 overs.
Their spinners, Krishnappa Gowtham (3/40 in 10 overs) and Manoj Tiwary (3/44 in 8 overs) then did the bulk of the damage to restrict India C to 201 all out in 48.2 overs.
However, what stuck out like a sore thumb was India C team captain Rahane's struggles; he could score only 32 off 61 balls.
India’s Test vice-captain’s poor run was compounded as left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem (0/29 in 10 overs) kept him under check.
With three national selectors watching the proceedings, Rahane didn't help his cause a bit as he couldn't even rotate the strike.
On a rather slow Kotla track, he played a lot of dot balls which increased pressure on the later batsmen.
Finally, it was Gowtham who ended his misery, as Rahane was unable to check his drive and Tiwary took the catch at covers.
"Rahane loves using the pace of the deliveries to score his runs and I did not want to bowl to his strengths. I wanted him to work on his singles," Gowtham said.
Shubman Gill (35), Suryakumar Yadav (39) and Vijay Shankar (35) got the starts but played indiscreet shots as the India C team's chase never gained momentum.
Earlier, courtesy Vihari's second successive half century (76 off 94 balls), India B scored 231 for 9 in 50 overs after being reduced to 90 for 5.
Vihari hit six boundaries as other players struggled.
It was a 60-run stand between Vihari and Ankush Bains (25) that gave India B's score some semblance of respectability.
Vihari anchored the innings and was the ninth batsman out, with India B stranded on 195.
Jaydev Unadkat (15) and Shahbaz Nadeem (19) added 36 runs for the final wicket and that proved crucial in the end.
India B: 231/9 in 50 overs (Hanuma Vihari 76, Ankush Bains 25; Rajneesh Gurbani 3/38).
India C: 201 all out in 48.2 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 39; K Gowtham 3/40, Manoj Tiwary 3/44).