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Gambhir gives Blues red heat

india Updated: Oct 28, 2007 19:20 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Security in any form can do a world of good an individual. And a cricketer is no exception to it.

After being in and out of the Indian team numerous times, Gautam Gambhir has just begun to cement his place and the confidence is showing in his batting. The 26-year-old toyed with the bowling when the others in the top order were struggling to help India Red reach a competitive 269 all out in 49.2 overs against India Blue in the final of the Ultra Tech Challenger Series for the NKP Salve trophy here on Sunday.

Had it not been for Gambhir's 83 runs off 77 balls and a late fight back by wicket keeper-batsman Manish Rawat (43 off 59 balls) and the tail, India Red would have even struggled to come anywhere near the 250 runs mark after skipper Mohammad Kaif elected to bat.

Gambhir stepped out to Ranadeb Bose on the fifth ball of the innings, sending the ball over the wide long fence for his first scoring shot of the day.

Despite wickets tumbling at the other end - Praveen Kumar and Karan Goel fell in the second over of the match bowled by Joginder Sharma - the Delhi batsman showed no signs of curbing his attacking instincts.

He welcomed Sharma for his second over with a punch off the back foot for a boundary and then added another down the ground two balls later. Even the wicket of Kaif failed to deter him as he gathered 12 runs of Bose's fifth over.

Gambhir was then joined by S Badrinath, the batsman he replaced in the India squad for the first two one-day internationals against Pakistan, and duo began rebuilding the innings together. While Gambhir continued to play his natural game, Badrinath preferred to play the sheet anchor's role as the duo added 111 runs in 130 balls with the newcomer contributing just 38 runs of 68 balls.

The left-hander occasionally stepped out even to the medium pacers but was largely finding the gaps with such ease that one wondered whether he needed to do anything different.

He reached his half-century in 44 balls and could have been back in the pavilion the very next ball when an uppish cut off Yo Mahesh stayed long enough in the air for a diving Amit Mishra to get his hand to the ball at point but the leg spinner could not hold on.

Gambhir then dropped anchor for a while and was happy to nudge for runs before a rush of blood saw him step out to Mishra but could only manage an outer edge and Sharma made no mistake with the catch at short third man.

Mishra then sent back Virat Kohli on the very next ball and Virender Sehwag had Paresh Patel plumb before the wicket five balls later to reduce India Red to 159 for 6.

Badrinath (55 of 88 balls) and Rawat then added 32 runs for the seventh wicket before the tail wagged enough to take the score beyond the 250 mark.

Left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha hit two boundaries and a six in a 14-ball 20 run knock and Shrikant Munde chipped in with 18 runs. Mishra was once again the best bowler on show finishing with figures of 3 for 45 in his allotted 10 overs while Joginder Sharma and Yo Mahesh claimed two scalps each.

SCORECARD-

India Red

P Kumar b Joginder 1

G Gambhir c Joginder b Mishra 82

K Goel lbw b Joginder 4

M Kaif c Rahane b Bose 22

S Badrinath lbw b Mahesh 55

V Kohli c & b Mishra 0

P Patel lbw b Sehwag 0

M Rawat not out 43

SS Mundhe st Karthik b Mishra 18

PP Ojha c Sehwag b Mahesh 20

SK Trivedi run out (Raina) 5

Extras (lb 10, w 8, nb 1) 19

Total (all out; 49.3 ovs) 269

Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-11, 3-47, 4-158, 5-158, 6-159, 7-191, 8-219, 9-252, 10-269.

Bowling: RR Bose 10-0-53-1, Joginder 7-0-41-2, VY Mahesh 9.3-0-56-2, RR Powar 8-0-34-0, A Mishra 10-0-45-3, V Sehwag 5-0-30-1.

He welcomed Sharma for his second over with a punch off the back foot for a boundary and then added another down the ground two balls later. Even the wicket of Kaif failed to deter him as he gathered 12 runs of Bose's fifth over.

Gambhir was then joined by S Badrinath, the batsman he replaced in the India squad for the first two one-day internationals against Pakistan, and duo began rebuilding the innings together. While Gambhir continued to play his natural game, Badrinath preferred to play the sheet anchor's role as the duo added 111 runs in 130 balls with the newcomer contributing just 38 runs of 68 balls.

The left-hander occasionally stepped out even to the medium pacers but was largely finding the gaps with such ease that one wondered whether he needed to do anything different.

He reached his half-century in 44 balls and could have been back in the pavilion the very next ball when an uppish cut off Yo Mahesh stayed long enough in the air for a diving Amit Mishra to get his hand to the ball at point but the leg spinner could not hold on.

Gambhir then dropped anchor for a while and was happy to nudge for runs before a rush of blood saw him step out to Mishra but could only manage an outer edge and Sharma made no mistake with the catch at short third man.

Mishra then sent back Virat Kohli on the very next ball and Virender Sehwag had Paresh Patel plumb before the wicket five balls later to reduce India Red to 159 for 6.

Badrinath (55 of 88 balls) and Rawat then added 32 runs for the seventh wicket before the tail wagged enough to take the score beyond the 250 mark.

Left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha hit two boundaries and a six in a 14-ball 20 run knock and Shrikant Munde chipped in with 18 runs. Mishra was once again the best bowler on show finishing with figures of 3 for 45 in his allotted 10 overs while Joginder Sharma and Yo Mahesh claimed two scalps each.