Fancied ONGC put up a dismal show with the bat against Air India (Red) in the much-awaited semifinal of the BCCI Corporate Trophy in Bangalore on Saturday.
And although their star-studded bowling line-up — comprising Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and off-spinner Sarandeep Singh — put up a brave fight, Air India won by five wickets with 10 overs remaining, thanks to left-handed Sushant Marathe's determined unbeaten 80. Air India (Red) now await the winner of Sunday's semifinal between Air India (Blue) and Tata SC in Mohali.
Put in to bat, ONGC were all out for 213 thanks mainly to skipper Gautam Gambhir's 92-run partnership for the third wicket with Virat Kohli (46). Other than this pair, the rest did not measure up to Air India, whose Mumbai medium-pace trio of Dhawal Kulkarni, Saurabh Netravalkar and Moondeep Mangela peppered the batsmen with short stuff.
Air India had their match-winner in Mumbai's Marathe, who ensured that the team got past the target despite watching helplessly the top-order fall in a heap to the pace of Ishant and spin combination of Mishra and Sarandeep.
Marathe cared little for the reputation of ONGC bowlers as he picked up three consecutive fours on the off side off Munaf early in his innings. He was lucky, though, when on 29 his attempted sweep off Sarandeep was caught at slips by Gambhir, but umpire Subrata Das ruled him not out.
Brief scores: ONGC 213 in 48 overs (Gambhir 63, Kohli 46; Dhawal Kulkarni 3/40) lost to Air India (Red) 215 for 5 in 40 overs (Marathe 80*, Ankit Chavan 41*; Sarandeep Singh 2/36).