Friday, September 27, 2013

Yuvraj-Nayar show powers Blue into Challenger final

INDORE: After missing the opening match against Delhi due to a back strain, Yuvraj Singh took his appointed place as captain of the India Blue team and immediately made an impact.

He was at his attacking best and along with another left-hander, Abhishek Nayar, put up a stand of 151 off just 78 balls.

That partnership helped the team notch up a massive 345 for four. Left with a mountain to climb, India Red batsmen made a valiant effort but fell 11 runs short.

This win helped India Blue, qualify for the final. On Sunday they will face the winners of the last league game between India Red and Delhi, who meet on Saturday.

While it was a memorable outing for Yuvraj, it was a forgettable match for India Red captain Yusuf Pathan. The only thing that went right for him was the toss. But he erred in asking India Blue to make first use of the flat track at Holkar stadium.

After the Blues posted the formidable total, it was time for Yusuf to make amends with the bat. But he lasted barely two deliveries and was caught off his counterpart\'s delivery. Despite Yusuf\'s flop show, the other batsmen tried gamely and made the match seem a close affair.

Yuvraj has been in good form of late after his fitness stint in France. Recently he had three productive knocks against West Indies \'A\'.

Here, he was given a good platform by Akshath Reddy and Manish Pandey, who put on 143 for the second wicket. Yuvraj began tentatively as Umesh Yadav beat his on a few occasions.

But once he got his eye in, he mercilessly slaughtered the bowling attack. With an 84-run knock off just 53 balls, with six boundaries and five sixes, he only enhanced his chances of making a comeback into the Indian team.

Nayar too did his reputation no harm, matching Yuvi stroke for stroke in his 39-ball 63, his second half-century in as many games.

He hammered half-a-dozen fours and four sixes, batting in the same impressive manner as he had against Delhi.

A goodly crowd got their entertainment as 679 runs came in 100 overs, with as many as 21 sixes and 58 fours hit during the match. But it also showed that India\'s pace duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav are rusty.
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