India Blue led by MS Dhoni prevailed over India Red in an absolutely tight encounter at Nagpur. India Blue chasing a modest target of 249 could get there only with 3 balls to spare and with just the one wicket in hand in the opening game of this season’s Challenger Trophy.
Tamil Nadu youngster Selvam Suresh Kumar played a crucial role in winning the match for the Blues scoring a well paced 87 from 113 balls with 7 fours and a six. India Blue faced stiff fight from fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who finally came to his own by picking up neat figures of 10-1-56-4. Another India prospect Ravindra Jadeja did well by coming up with 10-0-36-2 while getting complemented by off spinner Aswhin, who bowled 10 overs for just 33 runs. Apart from Suresh Kumar, Blues got respectable scores from Harbhajan Singh (36), who was promoted to no.3 and Skipper MS Dhoni who chipped in with 37.
Earlier in the afternoon, S Badrinath won the toss and his Reds team batted first. They were bowled out for 248 with as many as 5.2 overs getting wasted in their innings. And this was after a promising opening stand of 79 between Murali Vijay (44 from 35 balls with 4 fours and 2 sixes) and Shikhar Dhawan (39). Another two batsmen – Harshad Khadiwale (55) and Ishank Jaggi (54) got going as well but failed to kick onto make the bigger scores. Ashok Dinda (8-0-52-3) and Harbhajan Singh (8.4-0-40-3) were instrumental in the Blues coming back into the match in this first half. Interestingly, Skipper MS Dhoni chanced his arm with some medium pace and like the Champions Trophy match against West Indies had a wicket to show for his lesser known skill.