“We could have bowled better in the death overs and we lost quite a few wickets in the middle,” lamented India Red opener Abhinav Mukund, after his side fell short by 11 runs in their quest to beat India Blue in the second match of the NKP Challenger Trophy here yesterday.
Mukund scored 83 as India Red took the match to the final over on a day when 358 runs were scored in boundaries, leaving the Holkar Cricket Stadium crowd elated.
Batting first, India Blue’s Akshath Reddy architected yet another large platform at the top of the order. This time in the company of Manish Pandey in an effort which enabled an assault in the end overs by Yuvraj Singh and Abhishek Nayar. They piled up a massive total of 345 for 4 in 50 overs.
Reddy praised his bowlers after the win. “The wicket was flat. It was good to see our bowlers taking wickets at regular intervals which helped us get back into the game.”
On his well-crafted 84 (96 balls, 5x4, 2x6) – his second half century on the trot – Reddy said: “I wanted to utilise this opportunity well. Indore has been a very good ground for me. I’ve been getting runs every time I’ve played.”
A 143-run partnership in 26 overs by Reddy and Pandey laid the platform for Yuvraj Singh and Abhishek Nayar to go after the bowling down the order. The middle-order duo seemed to be hitting sixes and fours at will, scoring 139 runs of the last 12 overs, leaving opposition captain Yusuf Pathan clueless on which bowler to employ to arrest the assault in the end overs. Yuvraj scored six fours and five sixes in 53-ball 84 while Abhishek Nayar continued his ominous form to hit 75 of 39 balls (6x4, 4x6).
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