India Red pull off stunning victory against Blue

Published: Monday, October 2, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai: Master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar's heroic effort went in vain as India Reds pulled off sensational 21 run victory with 15 balls to spare over favourites and holders India Blues in the first match of the Challenger series for the N K P Salve trophy here yesterday.

Set to score a none-too-daunting target, the Men in Blue suffered the familiar collapse After Sachin and Sehwag provided a great start. The blues team, virtually the senior's team, slumped to 259 all out in 47.3 overs after Reds were all out for 280 in 50 overs.

It was vintage Tendulkar on show as the world's highest rungetter in both forms of the game, cut, drove and swept with finesse.

Such was Sachin's blitzkrieg that his performance reduced his mould Virender Sehwag into a mere spectator. The Men in Red appeared to be in the ''Red'' when Sachin exposed their bowling attack.

Continuing from where he left in the DLF series in Malaysia, Sachin hit his shots. He twice picked Sreesant, hitting him for a pulled six and a flicked four in one over and then giving him the charge to score like a tennis-like shot six over the long on.

Sehwag on the other hand rightly played second fiddle before he twisted his ankle that required about five minutes medical attention.

Team sources said that Sehwag will be under observation for the next 24 hrs and will be a doubtful starter for the all important game against India Green, in which Saurav Ganguly will be playing. ''We have to see how his (Sehwag) injury heals'', the sources said.

With Sehwag, badly looking to get back his form ahead of the Champions Trophy, and Sachin added 96 for the first wicket in 16 overs before the familiar Indian collapse unfolded putting the innings in tatters. Sehwag (28, 87 min, 36 balls, 2x4) ran himself out and Sachin (61, 95 min, 70 balls, 7x4, 2x6) was caught brilliantly by a forward-diving Venugopala rao at short covers off Zaheer.

Skipper Rahul Dravid (one) was trapped in front by V R V Singh, who also priced out M S Dhoni (six) as the Men in Blue were staring at the barrel.

It was the judicious use of power play by Indian Red Venugopala Rao that brought them back into the match. The second power play was taken after16 overs and it paid rich dividends as India Blues lost four wickets in a space of 14 runs, collapsing from 96 for no loss in 16.1 overs to 110 for four in 20.4 overs.

The innings was revived by a 79-run fifth wicket stand between Yuvaraj (57, 59 balls, 6x4), who was striking the ball well, and Dinesh Mongia (26, 47 balls, 2x4). However, the exit of Mongia and Yuvraj in quick succession brought the Reds back into contention.

The exit of Irfan Pathan, who had just hit a six off powar, fuelled their hopes of an upset victory as the asking rate climbed upto eight runs an over. Ravindra Jadeja (11) and Agarkar (six) too departed quickly as Reds sensed victory.

A pulled six by Harbhajan off Sreesanth revived the hopes, albeit briefly and only narrowed down the margin as harbhajan miscued a shot to signal Red's victory.


Virender Sehwag (run out) 28 Sachin Tendulkar c Venugopala Rao b Zaheer khan 61 Rahul Dravid lbw V R V Singh one Yuvraj Singh c Robin Uthappa b Murali Kartik 57 M S Dhoni c Dinesh Kaarthick b V R V Singh 6 Dinesh Mongia c VRV Singh b Murali Kartik 26 Irfan Pathan (run out) 19 Ravindra Jadeja (run out) 11 Ajit Agarkar c Robin Uthappa b V R V Singh 6 Harbhajan Singh c V R V Singh b Zaheer 15 Munaf Patel (not out) zero Extras: (lb-5, w-18, nb-6) 29 Total: 259 all out in 47.3 overs.

Fall of wickets: 1-96, 2-102, 3-102, 4-110, 5-189, 6-207, 7-227, 8-236, 9-247, 10-259.

Bowling: Zaheer Khan 8.3-0-34-2 Sreesant 9-3-58-0 Murali Kartik 10-0-45-2 Ramesh Powar 10-0-68-0 V R V Singh 10-0-49-3

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