Vihari, Gowtham send India B into final

Vihari, Gowtham send India B into final

K Gowtham

Ajinkya Rahane's struggles in limited overs cricket continued as India B comfortably beat India C by 30 runs to enter the Deodhar Trophy final on Wednesday.

It was Hanuma Vihari's fighting half-century under pressure that propped India B to 231 for nine in 50 overs.

Their spinners, Krishnappa Gowtham (3/40 in 10 overs) and Manoj Tiwary (3/44 in 8 overs) did the bulk of the damage to restrict India C to 201 all out in 48.2 overs.

However, what stuck out like a sore thumb was India C team captain Rahane's struggles as he managed only 32 off 61 balls.

His struggles were compounded as left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem (0/29 in 10 overs) kept the Indian Test vice-captain under check.

With three national selectors watching the proceedings, Rahane didn't help his cause and couldn't even rotate strike.

On a slowish Kotla track, Rahane played a lot of dot balls which increased pressure on the later batsmen.

Finally, it was Gowtham who ended his miseries as Rahane lobbed one to Tiwary at covers.

"Rahane loves using the pace of the deliveries to score his runs and I did not want to bowl to his strengths. I wanted him to work on his singles," Gowtham said.

Shubman Gill (35), Suryakumar Yadav (39) and Vijay Shankar (35) got the starts but played indiscreet shots as the India C's chase never gained momentum.

Earlier, courtesy Vihari's second successive half century (76 off 94 balls), India B posted a competitive total after being reduced to 90 for 5. Vihari hit six boundaries as other players struggled.

It was a 60-run stand between Vihari and Ankush Bains (25) that gave India B's score some semblance of respectability.

Vihari anchored the innings as he was the ninth batsman out with India B team stranded on 195.

Jaydev Unadkat (15) and Shahbaz Nadeem (19) added 36 runs for the final wicket and that proved crucial in the end.

Brief Scores: India B: 231/9 in 50 overs (Hanuma Vihari 76, Ankush Bains 25; Rajneesh Gurbani 3-38, Pappu Roy 3-45, Vijay Shankar 2-44) lt to India C: 201 all out in 48.2 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 39, Ajinkya Rahane 32, Shubman Gill 36, Vijay Shankar 35; K Gowtham 3-40, Manoj Tiwary 3-44).

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