India C 366 for 3 (Gill 143, Agarwal 120, Suryakumar 72*) beat India A 134 (Padikkal 31, Saxena 7-41, Porel 2-12) by 232 runs
Shubman Gill made his List A best of 143, Mayank Agarwal extended his form by scoring 120, Suryakumar Yadav provided belated Diwali fireworks with a 29-ball 72 not out, and Jalaj Saxena also recorded personal best figures of 7 for 41, all of it adding up to India C crushing India A by 232 runs to qualify for the Deodhar Trophy final in Ranchi.
In a batting template very similar to India B's against India A on Thursday, India C started cautiously but picked up pace along the way, with Gill and Agarwal putting together 226 for the first wicket in 38.3 overs. Agarwal was the more aggressive of the two early on, but Gill caught up, hitting ten fours and six sixes to Agarwal's 15 fours and a six.
Their stand set the tone for more fireworks. Once Agarwal and No. 3 Priyam Garg fell, Yadav walked in and immediately brought in a touch of the unorthodox, by scooping, paddling and sweeping his way to a half-century in a jiffy. The last three overs alone went for 61 as he shellacked nine fours and four sixes, including a sequence of 4, 6, 6, 4 off Siddarth Kaul to finish the innings, after 4, 4, 6 and 4 against Jaydev Unadkat in the previous over. Unadkat was the most expensive bowler, conceding 82 off ten wicketless overs. R Ashwin was the only one to concede at less than six per over, with figures of 10-1-57-1, taking Gill's wicket.
India A needed a win to stay in contention but were rocked early when they lost Vishnu Vinod and Abhishek Raman in the first two overs. After getting his Bengal mate Raman with one that swung away to get a leading edge to point, Ishan Porel had captain Hanuma Vihari nicking behind a bouncer for a duck to leave them tottering at 17 for 3. The only semblance of a partnership came in the form of Devdutt Padikkal and Bhargav Merai's 57-run stand, before the innings unravelled again, with Saxena deceiving Merai in flight to castle him for 30.
That was the start of a joyride for Saxena, in which he exhibited tremendous control and guile even as India A seemed to be in implosion mode, playing one rash shot after another to fold without a fight. Saxena scythed through the lower order in no time as it took India C only 29.5 overs to complete the formalities.
The next game is between India B and India C on Saturday, but with both teams having qualified for the final - on Monday - that will only serve to provide the players a bit more time in the middle and a chance to rack up good numbers.