India Green in final against India Red

Nagpur: Powered by strokeful centuries from Robin Uthappa and Srikkanth Anirudha, India Green hammered India Blue by 79 runs in a must-win match here on Wednesday to set up the title clash of the Challenger series against India Red.

Sent into bat, India Green posted a mammoth 348 for nine, with openers Uthappa and Anirudha setting up the platform for the huge score with their 203-run partnership. Uthappa, who had retired hurt after completing his century but later came back to bat, produced a scintillating knock of 132-runs from just 103 balls, adorned with 14 fours and three shots over the fence. Anirudha took 88 balls for 111 runs and helped himself with 13 fours and three sixes.

India Green then shot out India Blue for just 269 in 41.4 overs with left-arm paceman Samad Fallah being the most successful bowler with three wickets. India Blue made a spirited start to their chase despite losing Tanmay Srivastava (3) early in the innings as Murali Vijay (45) and Saurabh Tiwary (74) shared a quickfire 87-run stand for the second wicket.

However when the two batsmen were dismissed, required run-rate kept climbing up as the remaining batsmen could not score quickly. Dinesh Karthik (49) and Manish Pandey (32) resisted for some time but their knocks only reduced the defeat margin.

Earlier, Uthappa and Anirudha tore apart the rival attack, hitting fours and sixes almost at will before the former retired hurt after a 203-run stand in just 23 overs. Uthappa had to retire as he could no longer use a runner under the new rules of the ICC. He came back to the crease after Ishank Jaggi got out and finally departed for a well-made 132.

The opening duo of Uthappa and Anirudha hit 22 fours and six sixes during their partnership. Pacer Pradeep Sangwan was once at the receiving end of their ire as he was hit for three sixes in consecutive balls by Anirudha in the fourth over.

Uthappa was not the one to leave behind as three overs later he hoisted Mishra for a huge six. He followed it up with another six from the same bowler and later off Pragyan Ojha.
Sangwan, who conceded four boundaries in the eighth over, was taken off after leaking 37 runs from his first four overs.

None of the bowlers came out unscathed as Irfan Pathan conceded 23 from two overs while Mishra was equally costly as he bled 26 runs in his first spell of two overs. Mohammed Kaif, who came in after Uthappa retired hurt, did not stay long as he was out for 11, stumped by Dinesh Karthik off Mishra.

That led to a mini batting collapse as three wickets fell in the space of 16 balls for the addition of only 18 runs with India Green slumping from 241 for one to 259 for four.
Anirudha was interestingly out off part-timer Murali Vijay as he holed out to deep midwicket fielder Tiwary when he tried sending a full toss out of the ground.

Mohnish Mishra (9) and Ishank Jaggi (3) followed suit off Sangwan and Mishra. Uthappa came back to join Muralidharen Gautam (17) in the middle and the duo stitched 25 runs before the latter got out.