Bangalore: India discard Suresh Raina made a fine 92 to guide India Blue to a modest 246 all out after a disastrous start in the inaugural limited-overs tie of the NKP Salve Challengers Trophy against India Red at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
India Red new-ball bowler Pravin Kumar struck early to leave Blue reeling on 23 for 3 before Raina doled his side out of trouble with two useful partnerships.
The stylish southpaw from UP knitted a useful 87 runs with Niraj Patel (35 off 53, 5X4s) for the fifth wicket stand and then added a brisk 49 runs with the Joginder Sharma (27 off 33, 3X4s) for the sixth wicket partnership. Raina got out in the 42nd over trying to up the ante played a lofted shot over long-off off Trivedi only to find safe pair of hands of Virat Kohli. Raina struck seven boundaries and two towering sixes in his 100-ball knock.
Lower order batters Joginder, Amit Mishra and Ramesh Powar chipped in with useful contribution to help Blue post healthy 257.
Lanky Haryanvi pacer Pravin, who made Blue skipper Sehwag rue for his decision to bat first, made the most of early juice in the wicket. He swung both ways with a decent pace. Pravin struck in the very first ball of the innings sending Ajinkya Rahane packing with a peach of an inswinger that beat Rahane all out to castle his timber. Sehwag who took some time to open his account, played an elegant square cut off Sharma for a boundary before giving a tame catch to Badri stationed at covers off Pravin. In the very next ball Pravin dismissed Karthik for a plumb LBW.
Three overs later first change bowler Siddarth Trivedi removed well set Swapnil Asnodkar (19). Asnodkar who struck two classy cover drives to rake up boundaries in his 38-ball 19 run knock. This promising batsman from Goa trying to up the scoring rate got out to a mistimed pull giving a regulation catch to Ishan Sharma stationed at mid-off. Asnodkar's departure left Blues' in a spot of bother with scoreboard read 4 for 41.
At this juncture Raina along with Niraj Patel showed a nerves of steel to revive Blue. The duo milked 87 runs before Patel fell victim to a bad shot off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. Patel was holed out at mid-on. Then Raina and Joginder consolidated the Blue innings with a quick 49-run partnership in just over eight overs.
Late charge in the end by lower order batsmen Ramesh Powar (21 off 13, 4X4s)) and Amit Mishra (29 off 31) powered Blue to a healthy total.
Pravin Kumar bowled to an immaculate line and length to reap a rich harvest of 4 for 42 in his 10 overs. Trivedi plucked 3 for 52 in 10 overs. Ishant, Mundhe and Ojha took one wicket apiece.
India Blue 246 all out in 49.3 overs (Suresh Raina 92, Nireej Patel 35, Amit Mishra 29 n o, Joginder 27, Powar 21; Pravin Kumar 4 for 42, Trivedi 3 for 52, Pragyan Ojha 1 for 50, Ishant Sharma 1 for 43) Vs India Red.