India Reds defeated India Greens by 39 runs to set up a title clash with Men in Blue in the final of the Challenger Series Cricket Tournament for the N KP Salve Trophy on Wednesday.
After scoring a daunting 317 for four, which was largely possible due to judicious knocks by openers Robin Uthappa (92, 99 balls, 6x4, 3x6) and Gautam Gambhir (74, 93 balls, 8x4) and a late assault by local hero Dinesh Kaarthick (85, 68 balls, 8x4, 3x6), India Reds picked wickets at regular intervals to bowl out India Greens for 278 runs in 48.4 overs.
It turned out to be a tall order as the Greens succumbed without any fight. Except Parthiv Patel (69, 77 balls, 7x4, 1x5) and Md Kaif (34, 48 balls, 4x4) and a late charge by Mithun Manhas (34, 35 balls, 1x6, 2x4) and Piyush Chawla (55 not out, 41 balls, 5x4, 2x6), there was no worthwhile contribution as Greens caved in without any fight.
The Greens never recovered from the early exit of Saurav Ganguly and lost wickets at regular intervals. For Reds Ramesh Powar claimed three wickets, while Sreesanth and VRV Singh bagged two wickets each.
India Reds won both the matches for a tally of eight points, while Blues finished second with five points. Greens lost both the matches to finish with minus-one point.
Once again Saurav Ganguly failed, virtually derailing his hopes of making a come back bid. The left hander from Kolkata, lasted a mere 30 balls against India Blues on Monday.
On Tuesday it was even more shorter before he played on to Sreesanth, triggering a collapse.