Chand century powers Delhi to final
Delhi 342 for 6 (Chand 119, Kohli 63, Mithun 3-81) defeated India Red 230 (Gurkeerat 83, Sood 5-84, Nehra 4-38) by 112 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Delhi booked their berth in the final of the Challenger Trophy against India Blue with a comprehensive 112-run win over India Red in Indore, thanks largely to a century from Unmukt Chand.
An ongoing narrative in the series has been the good performances of India's old guard. Yuvraj Singh made this chance count with a match-winning 84 on Friday to take India Blue to the final, and Virender Sehwag shone in his new middle-order avatar with a quick-fire 59 in a losing cause for Delhi on Thursday.
On Saturday, it was Gautam Gambhir's turn, who had just come back from his county assignment with Essex. Even though he started well with two fours, adding 61 for the first wicket with Chand, he skied a short-length delivery from Abhimanyu Mithun straight back to the bowler to depart for 20.
Chand, however, had been in good touch heading into the tournament, scoring consecutive fifties for the A team against New Zealand A. Once again, he played a fine innings that can do no harm to his chances of playing higher cricket. He struck 12 fours and three sixes during his 131-ball 119, and put up stands of 93 and 120 for the second and fourth wicket, with Virat Kohli and Milind Kumar respectively, to take Delhi to a mammoth 342 for 6 in their 50 overs.
Chand paced his innings well, lobbing Mithun over square leg for the game's first six, in the fifth, and was provided ample support by the captain Kohli. Kohli started quickly, scoring 12 of his first 16 runs in fours. Upon reaching his half-century, he smashed two sixes in quick succession, a pull off Yusuf Pathan and a beautifully timed hit straight over Shahbaz Nadeem's head. He then attempted a third, dancing down the track for another big hit, but Nadeem pitched the ball short, and Kohli was stranded for an easy stumping.
Delhi refused to slow down, though, as Milind came in and kept the run-rate at well over six. He reached his fifty in style, striking Umesh Yadav for consecutive fours in the 40th over. Yadav eventually made amends in the 45th over, inducing an outside edge off Milind's bat back to the keeper to dismiss him for a 52-ball 57.
Chand was dismissed in the next over, but Rajat Bhatia added a late surge, hitting 40 off just 19, with three fours and sixes each, to set India Red a difficult 343 for victory.
India Red were never really in the chase, and kept losing wickets. Ashish Nehra and Varun Sood demolished their top and middle orders. Abhinav Mukund kept the score ticking with a handy 64, but with the likes of Robin Uthappa and Yusuf Pathan all making low scores, the game was all but over at 156 for 6 in the 32nd. Gurkeerat Singh Mann, batting at No. 7, smashed 83 off just 51, but it was too little too late.
Sood finished the game with 5 for 84, while Nehra picked up four wickets to bowl India Red out for 230 in just over 40 overs, leaving them without a win in the series. It was Delhi's first success of the tournament following their 18-run loss to India Blue on Thursday, and the two teams will again battle it out in the tournament's show-piece event on Sunday.