India Blue clinch Challenger trophy, beat Delhi by 50 runs

India Blue clinch Challenger trophy, beat Delhi by 50 runs

India Blue clinch Challenger trophy, beat Delhi by 50 runs

Paceman Bhuvaneshwar Kumar followed up his team's superb collective batting effort with a four-wicket haul as India Blue lifted the NKP Salve Challenger Series Trophy with a convincing 50-run victory over Delhi, here today.

After electing to bat, India Blue scored a challenging 274 for nine as almost all the batsmen contributed in team's cause even as Manish Pandey was the lone half-centurion.

Pandey top-scored for India Blue with his 62-run knock while Piyush Chawla (42), Ankit Bawne (37) and Naman Ojha (33) also came up with useful knocks.

Pacemen Parvinder Awana (4/39) and Rajat Bhatia (4/59) shared eight wickets between them but that did not stop India Blue from posting a very challenging score.

Bhuvaneshwar then warmed up for the upcoming Australia series in good fashion as he dismissed Delhi openers Gautam Gambhir and Unmukt Chand, giving India Blue just the kind of start they needed in the defence of their total.

The lean UP bowler then added two more scalps to his kitty as Delhi were bowled out for 224 in 44.4 overs. Bhuvaneshwar gave away just 39 runs in his nine overs.

Puneet Bisht (54 not out) and Milind Kumar (54) batted with determination in the middle-order but failure of big guns such as Virat Kohli (23) and Virender Sehwag (5) cost Delhi the match.

The success has come at a crucial time for India Blue skipper Yuvraj Singh as his continuous good batting is now expected to pave the way for his return to national team.

Yuvraj scored just 29 runs today but he has lot of runs under his felt ever since he was made part of India A team for the series against West Indies A.

Earlier, openers P Akshat Reddy and Naman did not set the field on fire with their batting but they handed India Blue a steady start with their 53-run stand.

Awana bowled Ojha to break the partnership and then Bhatia scalped Reddy but Yuvraj and Pandey stabilised the innings by adding 69 runs for the third wicket.

Bhatia then ran through the Blue middle-order by dismissing Yuvraj, Abhishek Nayar (12) and Pandey in quick succession.

The established names had gone but Bawne and experienced Chawla ensured that they had enough runs on the board to claim the trophy.

The two batsmen quickly raised 46 runs for the sixth wicket before being scalped by Awana. R Vinay Kumar also came up with a crucial 17-run cameo to help his side reach a defendable total.

Bhuvaneshwar rattled the Delhi top-order by dismissing both the openers --Gambhir (4) and Chand (6). R Vinay Kumar then saw the back of Sehwag (5) and Virat Kohli (23) did not help his by running himself out.

As the famed batsmen were already cooling their heels back in the pavilion, the following batsmen put up a brave fight but that was not enough.

Old warhorse Ashish Nehra did his bit by scoring a quick-fire 24 but that just reduced the defeat margin.

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