After a pathetic show on Friday, the only chance for India Green to qualify for the final against Red was to beat Blue with a bonus point on Saturday.
But the manner in which Suresh Raina's Green started, with new-ball bowler Vikramjeet Singh Malik overstepping on numerous occasions and conceding 13 runs in his first over, they had surrendered inside the first half-an-hour. Blue made an imposing 351 for two, courtesy blazing centuries from Abhinav Mukund (114) and Wasim Jaffer (143) and their 265-run opening stand.
Despite Tanmay Srivastava’s century and Anirudha Srikkanth’s quick half-century, Green were never in the hunt, leaving Blue victors by 88 runs.
With the match out of their hands, Green should have tried going for the bonus point to make the game livelier rather than play for individual glory and end up with 263 for nine.
Malik is a decent medium-pacer in the conditions suiting swing bowling. But Saturday was not his day. He looked disoriented, tried to do that much extra in front of four of the five national selectors, sending down full-tosses and short balls that were dispatched to the pickets.
Malik’s no-ball count went to six in his first three overs that conceded 32 runs. The 26-year-old right-armer had re-marked his run-up, but that was too late as he was, expectedly, taken out of attack. He was brought
back after 27 overs, and still Mukund and Jaffer were inseparable.
Malik changed ends but the no-ball virus didn't leave him. His comeback over went for 13 runs. He was stopped immediately, and was left fetching the ball from the boundary ropes as Mukund and Jaffer went hammer and tongs.
Points table: India Blue: 9 points including 1 bonus; India Red: 5 points including 1 bonus; India Green: -2 (conceded a bonus point in each of their two games).
Sunday's final: Blue vs Red.