India Red enter the final with 2nd win

Nagpur:  Putting up a dominating all-round show, India Red stormed into the final of the NKP Salve Challenger Series after thrashing India Green by eight wickets in the rain-hit second match of the tournament here on Tuesday.

It was second win for India Red in as many days as they had defeated India Blue in the series-opener yesterday. The Gautam Gambhir-led India Red 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 bowlers for India Red, 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 easy win by putting on 100 runs for the first wicket along with Abhinav Mukund (61).

Gambhir was dropped by Mohammed Kaif off paceman Abhimanyu Mithun when he was on just 14 and 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 skies opend up and stopped play. On resumption, Mithun finally got Gambhir when he lofted one straight to Ishwar Chaudhary at mid-off. Gambhir`s knock was studded with six fours and a six and 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) steered the side home without any hiccup. India Red will take on the winner of tomorrow`s match between India-Green and India-Blue in Thursday`s final.