Blistering knocks from Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni scripted a massive 266-run victory for India Blue over India Green in Match 2 of the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy at Chennai. Tendulkar followed his first match fifty with an amazing 100-ball 139 which contained as many as 20 fours and 4 sixes. Dhoni who has been woefully short of runs of late smashed 79 in 59 deliveries (6×4 4×6) as the Blue team having won the toss piled up 381 for 6. The Mohammad Kaif led India Green team never had any realistic chance of getting to 382 and all they could manage was 115.
India Blue had rested Virender Sehwag for this game to include an under 19 rookie Tanmay Srivastava to open up with Sachin Tendulkar. Balaji on a comeback trial got Tanmay’s wicket in the third ball of the match itself but his team had to then witness a 130-run stand for the next wicket between Tendulkar and Pathan that provided the platform for the Seniors. Irfan Pathan scored a near run-a-ball 54 which also had three sixes. Sachin Tendulkar who was looking threatening to even notch up a double century was dismissed in the 33rd over by off spinner Sourasish Lahiri. The Skipper of the Blue side, Dravid came in at no.4 to score a busy 62 which had three sixes. The finishing touches were given by Dhoni and Ajit Agarkar who scored 17 runs off just six deliveries. Sourav Ganguly was the most economical bowler of the pack for the Greens as he conceded just 23 in his 5 overs. Balaji was the most successful picking two for 62 in 8 overs.
The India Green side could never really get going in their chase of a monstrous target and were bowled out in just under 27 overs. Parthiv Patel who came in at one drop scored a 38-ball 43. Former Indian Skipper Sourav Ganguly who had opened the batting scored just 24 which had come in 30 balls along with four boundaries. Harbhajan Singh dismissed four batsmen in a mean spell of 4.4 overs conceding just 10 runs.
The third day of the tournament will see India Green led by Kaif take on India Red led by Venugopal Rao and this is a must win match for the Green Side if they have any chance of making it to the Final. Their net run rate has taken plenty of beating having lost today’s game by a huge margin of 266. But all eyes will be on Sourav Ganguly to see if he can play a magical knock out of nowhere to clinch the honours.