India Blue clinch Duleep Trophy

India Blue clinch Duleep Trophy

India Blue clinch Duleep Trophy
Ravindra Jadeja spiced up an otherwise uneventful final day with another lethal spell of left-arm spin as India Blue notched up a crushing 355-run win over Red to clinch the inaugural day/night Duleep Trophy tournament here on Wednesday.

With the match already in Blue’s pocket after a gigantic 337-run first innings lead, the fifth day was only of academic interest but Jadeja (5/76 in 18.1 overs) bundled out Red, who were set an improbbable victory target of 517 runs, for 161 in 44.1 overs.

Jadeja’s match haul of 10 for 171 is his sixth 10-wicket haul for the match in first-class cricket and will enhance his confidence as India get ready to take on New Zealand in a week’s time.

It was again the pace, approximately around 90 kmph, which made the difference as most of the deliveries straightened after pitching, with the odd ball turning away and a few coming in with the angle.

The batsmen couldn’t fully commit forward and those going for the cross-batted sweep paid the price because of his wicket to wicket line.

Blue captain Gautam Gambhir batted for 10 overs as his team added another 40 runs before declaring the second innings at 179 for five with a lead of 516 runs. 
With victory out of question, one thought that it would be a case of playing out the required overs before the captains decide to call off the match.

After Abhinav Mukund retired after he was hit on the forearm by a Pankaj Singh snorter, Shikhar Dhawan (29) and Sudeep Chatterjee (13) added 36 runs before Jadeja struck the first blow.

Chatterjee tried to sweep one from the rough but miscued the shot to offer an easy catch to Abhimanyu Mithun at mid-off. In the very next over, Dhawan was done in by a Parveez Rasool (1/31) delivery that drifted and turned away, with Gambhir taking a sharp low catch at first slip.

Yuvraj Singh (21) and Gurkeerat Singh Mann (39 off 37 balls) added 52 runs in quick time before the former lost his concentration while going for a slog sweep off Jadeja, only to find Pankaj at deep square-leg boundary.

Red went downhill from there on as Binny also tried to sweep and missed the line to make it 98 for four. In the meantime, Karn Sharma (3/33 in 9 overs) increased the pressure by getting Gurkeerat stumped with a lovely leg-break and Jadeja removed Amit Mishra to bag his fourth wicket.

Karn then found the outside edge of Ankush Bains (20) and was lucky to dismiss Pradeep Sangwan with a half-tracker. Jadeja completed a coveted five-for when he had Nathu Singh plumb in-front.
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