Rain plays spoil sport, Blue

Published: Thursday, October 5, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai: India Blues and India Reds were declared joint winners after heavy rain forced abandonment of the Challenger Series final for the N K P Salve trophy here.

India Blues were 210 for four in 31.2 overs with Sehwag on 90 not out (78 balls, 14x4, 1x6) going merrily along with M S Dhoni (six not out, six balls, 1x4), when the first spell of rain drove the players back to the dressing room.

Electing to bat, India Blues were riding on Virender Sehwag's return to form knock and were well placed for a big score, when the rain intervened at 1710 hrs. After 15 minutes, the rain subsided and the covers were removed.Thanks to the newly created drainage facilities, groundsmen, with the help of super-soppers made a gallant effort to bring the ground back to shape, but another spell of rain at 1845 hrs ruled out any possibility of play.

The umpires officially called off play at 19:45 hrs.This was for the second time after 1998-99 at Ahmedabad that the trophy was being shared by the finalists.V R V Singh was declared Man of the Series, for his seven-wicket haul in three matches.

Initially, things were not rosy for the Blues who lost Sachin (0) in the first over and Irfan Pathan in the ninth, to be reduced to 55 for two. Both fell to left armer Zaheer Khan. The fielding by the Reds was commendable as Sachin and Pathan, who was let off by Murali Kartik at first slip off Sreeshanth, fell to stunning catches. Rahul Dravid was lucky to survive a run out before his first run.

Leaning forward for a drive, the world's highest run-getter only managed to spoon it to covers where Robin Uthappa dived to his right to complete a low catch. Pathan struck three fours in his 27-ball 22 and was brilliantly caught by substitute R Satish at point.

Virender Sehwag, coming back after injury and Dravid, thriving on difficult dropped chances, steadied the innings with a 101 run stand in 99 balls. While Sehwag, was dropped on 39 by T P Singh at point off V R V Singh, Dravid was lucky to survive the first ball after Venugopal Rao made a valiant attempt at short covers off Zaheer.

Sehwag, who was yet to score a century after his 108 against Pakistan in the first ODI at Kochi last year, was keen to get back his form ahead of the Champions Trophy.

In an innings mixed with caution and controlled aggression. He was particularly severe on Sreesanth as he cut and drove with aplomb.

Dravid, after surviving a run out chance, again on zero, started middling the ball well and struck four fours before he was run out in a mix up with Sehwag. Yuvaraj (27, 21 balls 5x4) dominated the 38-run fourth wicket stand and was trapped in front by Murali Kartik, trying for a sweep.

After Dhoni joined Sehwag, who was well settled for his century after a long time, the weather gods intervened with the men in Blue well placed for a 300-plus score.

As the drizzle started, Sehwag, who was playing on 82, hit two successive fours off Murali Kartik, before the players came back.


India Blues: Virender Sehwag 90 not out, Sachin Tendulkar c Uthappa b Zaheer 0, Irfan Pathan c (sub) Satish b Zaheer 22, Rahul Dravid (run out) 43, Yuvaraj Singh lbw Murali Kartik 27, M S Dhoni 6 not out Extras: (lb-1, nb-2, w-19) 22 Total: 210 for four in 31.2 overs.

Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-55, 3-156, 4-194

Bowling: Zaheer Khan 6-1-32-2, S Sreeshanth 8-0-51-0, V R V Singh 7-0-51-0, Ramesh Powar 3-0-21-0, Murali Kartik 5.2-0-39-1 and T P Singh 2-0-15-0

Result: Match abandoned due to rains-Blues' and Reds' declared joint winners

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