Bangalore: In-form southpaw Gautam Gambhir struck yet another classy half-century to help India Reds recover from a shaky start and post a solid 269/9 against Blue in the NKP Salve Challengers Trophy title clash at the Sardar Patel Stadium, Moters in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
Gambhir (82) knitted a crucial 111 runs for the fourth wicket with Badrinath (55 off 88) and the surge in the death overs from tail-enders assured Reds a healthy total.
The India and Delhi left-hander, who is enjoying a purple patch, hit seven boundaries and a six over long-off in his chanceless 77-ball knock.
Blues' leg-spinner Amit Mishra plucked three wickets including the prized scalp of Gambhir in the middle overs to peg Reds back while Joginder and YoMahesh claimed two wickets apiece.
Earlier, opting to bat first, Reds got off to a disastrous start, losing opener Praveen Kumar and one down Karan Goel with just 11 runs on the board. Both the wickets were taken by the seamer Joginder Sharma, who castled the timberwork of Praveen with a peach of an inswinger in the second over of the day and then had Goel trapped leg before wicket for 4. The next man in Mohd Kaif played with a sense of urgency. He made 22 off 19 studded with four boundaries before playing a airy shot off fullish delivery from Bose only to find a safe pair of hands of Rahane stationed at shot covers.
This brought yet another man in form Badri to join Gambhir at the crease and the two took no time to settle down on the two paced strip. Gambhir fresh from his match winning knock in the game looked in prime touch as his timing and placement was spot on while his partner struggled early on but adjusted himself soon to the conditions and played a second fiddle.
Gambhir played some eye catching cuts and pulls off Bose and Joginder which were worth miles to go to watch as he along with Badri consolidated Reds'.
Railways gloveman Mahesh Rawat, 43* off 59, anchored the Reds' innings in the end overs while Ojha and Mundhe played a little cameo knocks to bolster their side to a good total.
India Red 269 for 9 in 50 overs (Gambhir 82, Badri 55, Rawat 43; Amit Mishra 3 for 45, Joginder 2 for 41, YoMahesh 2 for 56) Vs India Blue