<
>

India Red settle for draw despite win in sight in Duleep Trophy

India Red 316 (Lad 88, R Sanjay 72, Saurabh 3-75, Wakhare 3-76) and 255 (Lad 68, Abhinav 50, Saurabh 4-79, Wakhare 4-110) drew with India Blue 293 (Shorey 97, Rasool 4-107) and 128 for 8 (Shorey 45, Nadeem 5-53, Rasool 3-59)

India Red qualified for the final of Duleep Trophy 2018-19 after gaining three points at the end of the drawn day-night game in Dindigul. Their opponents India Blue were 128 for 8 when the mandatory last hour began but the game came to an early close since Abhinav Mukund's side had taken the lead in the first innings and knew that would be enough for them to progress.

India Blue were surprised by the way things ended, but they would nonetheless be happy considering the day had begun with them 179 runs in deficit. Siddhesh Lad and Akshay Wadkar were at the crease and going strong. The duo added 117 for the fourth wicket, with Lad bringing up his second half-century of the game.

Saurabh Kumar and Akshay Wakhare struck back as India Red slipped from 198 for 3 to 209 for 9. Abhimanyu Mithun's unbeaten run-a-ball 47, though, pushed the final total to 255, setting a target of 279. The spinners Saurabh and Wakhare did the bulk of the bowling, sending down a combined 66 of the 84.3 overs, picking up four wickets each.

India Red too started proceedings with spin with Parvez Rasool at one end and Shahbaz Nadeem at the other. Faiz Fazal and Dhruv Shorey gave India Blue a 76-run opening stand before Rasool bowled Fazal to trigger a collapse and soon the scoreboard was showing 110 for 8. Dhawal Kulkarni and B Ayyappa resisted for 53 deliveries during their unbroken ninth-wicket stand before the two captains shook hands.

For India Red, Nadeem bowled unchanged from one end to finish with 5 for 53 from 23 overs, while Rasool picked up 3 for 59. Rajneesh Gurbani was the only other bowler used, bowling a mere four overs.

Earlier, India Red posted 316 after winning the toss, thanks to half-centuries from Lad and R Sanjay. Shorey led India Blue's response with a 97, but Rasool's four-wicket haul meant they were bowled out for 293, conceding a 23-run lead.

This leaves India Blue and India Green competing for a place in the final when the two sides meet on August 29.