All-round India Blue surge to title win
India Blue 287 for 7 (Srivastava 103, Tiwary 84) beat India Green 147 (RP Singh 3-20, Chawla 3-45) by 140 runs
After walloping India Green in the last league game, India Blue repeated the dose in the final to win the Challenger Trophy in emphatic fashion in Indore.
The game had a sense of déjà vu from start to finish: Tanmay Srivastava, opening in place of Shreevats Goswami who had fallen for a duck in the previous game, almost suffered the same fate when he edged Dhawal Kulkarni down the leg side in the opening over. Naman Ojha, however, failed to hold on to the offering and Srivastava was on his way. Shikhar Dhawan began aggressively once again, but it was Srivastava who took control with a well-paced century. After the inevitable lull in the middle overs, Manoj Tiwary once again launched a late assault to leave India Green gasping.
Dhawan began the fireworks, pulling Kulkarni for six in the fifth over, and slamming him for three consecutive fours in the seventh. Srivastava was more watchful, feeling his way to 17 at the ten-over mark. Abhimanyu Mithun removed Dhawan in the 12th over, and in the process stalled the momentum of the innings . Ajinkya Rahane, who had been in top form coming into the game, scratched around to score seven off 22 balls, as India Green threatened to rein things in. Yuvraj Singh could not make an impression either and his exit in the 26th over left India Blue struggling at 118 for 3.
Srivastava, however, had reached his half-century by now, and was about to turn the tide along with Tiwary. The pair laid the platform with a mixture of deft placement smart running before opening up in the 40th over. Srivastava brought up his ton with three successive boundaries off Mithun and the pair took the batting Powerplay in the next over. Srivastava, however, could not cash in and was stumped off Ashwin. There was no stopping Tiwary, though, as he accelerated with mathematical precision in the final ten. With wickets falling at the other end, he kept the flag fluttering with a boundary each in the 43rd, 46th and 49th overs. He smashed Mithun for a six and a four in the final over before perishing for 84 in search for the final flourish. Piyush Chawla finished the innings by paddle-scooping Mithun for six more, setting India Green a daunting chase under lights.
Their response was meeker than yesterday's, as RP Singh and Chawla bullied them with regular wickets. Robin Uthappa briefly threatened to repair the innings, but his exit for 30 signaled the end of the game as a contest. The final rites were administered in the 37th over as India Green folded for 147. Their captain, S Badrinath, later noted that his side has conceded 30 runs too many, but in reality, the gap between the two sides was much wider than that.