India Blue beat Green; face Red in Challenger final

October 26th, 2008 - 1:29 am ICT by IANS  

Cuttack, Oct 25 (IANS) India Blue defeated Greens by 19 runs in a rain curtailed match here Saturday and will face Reds in Sunday’s final of the N.K.P. Salve Challenger Trophy.Put into bat first, Blues led by Yuvraj Singh scored 218 in 44.2 overs with Robin Uthappa scoring a fine 76 off 88 balls. In reply, Greens were all out for 199 in 44 overs after Cheteshwar Pujara struck a fighting 65.

Overnight rains at the Barabati Stadium, which reduced the match to 45 overs a side, favoured the Greens fast bowlers early on in the innings. Pankaj Singh, Rudra Pratap Singh (2/56) and Manpreet Gony (2/18) combined well to reduce the Blues to 87/4 by the 22nd over.

Yuvraj’s (3) woeful form with the bat continued but useful contributions from Yogesh Takawale (34) and Irfan Pathan (28) helped the Blues cross the 200-run mark.

With just 218 runs to defend, the Blues bowlers came out with a stunning display as off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up three for 46.

Greens failed to get a decent partnership. Pujara didn’t get much support from the other end and ran out of sponsors. He departed in the 42nd over when he stepped down to attack Ashwin and was caught in the deep by Nanda.

Yousuf Pathan also scored a 32-ball 34 but his efforts could not help Greens cross the final hurdle.

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