India Red v India Blue, NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, Indore October 10, 2010

Dhawan, Rahane put India Blue in final

ESPNcricinfo staff

India Blue 320 for 8 (Dhawan 109, Rahane 95) beat India Green (Jadhav 71, Yo Mahesh 3-34, Jadeja 2-43) by 111 runs

India Blue rose to the pressure of a must-win game with a flawless performance to upstage India Green and set up a final showdown against the same opposition on Monday. Shikhar Dhawan struck a century, while Ajinkya Rahane continued his consistent run with 95 to set Green a target of 321. S Badrinath's side, who had already booked their place in the final with a bonus-point win against Red, slumped to a massive defeat as their chase fizzled out under lights.

India Blue's innings began in disastrous fashion when Shreevats Goswami departed in the opening over, run-out without facing a ball. That was the only success India Green experienced for a while, as Dhawan and Rahane set about their task with gusto. Dhawan got going with a brace of boundaries in the second over from Pankaj Singh, before going after Abhimanyu Mithun in the fifth. Rahane found his range with three crisp boundaries off Jaskaran Singh and a pulled six of Mithun as Blue raced past 50 in the seventh over.

Having sized up the conditions to perfection, the pair settled down for the long haul. Good placement and a spate of singles and twos followed, interspersed with boundaries, as the spin trio of Sarabjit Ladda, R Ashwin and Rohit Sharma struggled to check the runs. Mithun's reintroduction in the 35th over ended the stand on 193, Rahane trapped in front five short of a ton. There was to be no denying Dhawan though, as he pulled Mithun to bring up three figures and celebrated with another loft over mid-on for four. Yuvraj took the batting Powerplay, and though Dhawan departed without capitalising on the restriction, the captain, and later Manoj Tiwary exacted full toll. Jaskaran, Pankaj and Mithun all came in for some tap as Tiwary blitzed 46 off 27 to take the total well past 300.

Naman Ojha began the pursuit with two boundaries in the second over, but Umesh Yadav trapped him in front with the sixth ball. India Green then struggled to find the boundaries and Badrinath's exit against the sharp RP Singh killed their momentum further. The aggressive firm of Srikkanth Anirudha and Robin Uthappa also failed to make an impact, and at 61 for 4 after 15 overs, India Green were in need of a massive repair job. Rohit briefly promised before Yuvraj got him to offer a return catch. With the tank running quickly out of gas, Kedar Jadhav kept trying with 71, but Yo Mahesh, with support from the rest of the attack, brought down the shutters in the 42nd over.