A classy 111-ball 106 by Shubman Gill backed up by half-centuries from Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav propelled India C into the finals of the Deodhar Trophy 2018 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Thursday. Chasing a stiff 293/6 set by India A, Gill, batting at No.3 stitched useful stands first with Kishan and then Yadav as India C romped home to a win in 47 overs.
Chasing 294 India C started off on the wrong foot losing Ajinkya Rahane in just the seventh over. The opener failed to capitalise on an earlier reprieve when he was dropped on 7 by Mohammed Siraj as he popped a catch back to his Mumbai teammate Dhawal Kulkarni falling for 14. His opening partner Abhinav Mukund slammed six fours in his 40-ball 36 before dragging-on left-arm spinner Shams Mulani. India C then lost the big wicket of Suresh Raina soon after, a miscommunication with Gill resulting in a needless run out with the scoreboard reading 85/3 after 18.2 overs.
Gill though held his composure and along with Kishan made sure the runs kept flowing. The duo was not over-aggressive but kept the boundary counter running as they forged a vital 121-run stand for the fourth wicket. While Gill raised his half-century in 63 balls, Kishan got to the landmark in 43 deliveries with two consecutive fours off Mulani. Kishan fell soon after though failing to read a quicker one from R Ashwin to be trapped right in front of the stumps for a 60-ball 69.
It was down to Yadav to take India C home and the Mumbai lad did not disappoint. He started off sedately before launching into Kedar Jadhav lofting the off-spinner for two maximums in an over and then smashing Mohammed Siraj for two more sixes. Gill reached his century in what turned out to be the last over the game cutting Siddharth Kaul wide of point before smashing another two fours to end the game with 18 balls to spare. His 106 was studded with eight fours and three sixes while Yadav smashed three fours and four sixes in his 36-ball 56.
Earlier batting first on what seemed a good batting surface India A gave a good account of themselves with their top three batsmen scoring solid half-centuries.
Abhimanyu Easwaran, coming into the side in place of Prithvi Shaw, and Anmolpreet Singh started strongly with the latter, in particular, taking the aggressive route as he dominated the opening stand of 99 which took just 19.1 overs. He got going with a clinical cover drive off Rajneesh Gurbani and followed it up three cracking fours off Umar Nazir even as his opening partner took time to settle in.
The stylish right-hander soon reached his half-century creaming Rahul Chahar to the deep mid-wicket fence for a four and celebrated it with a maximum in the same direction, this time the ball soaring over the boundary ropes. The leg-spinner Chahar though had the last laugh as Anmolpreet went for one shot too many only to be smartly caught by Washington Sundar at short midwicket. He departed for a well-constructed 56-ball 59 which included 9 fours and a six.
Nitish Rana, coming at No.3, then made sure none of the momentum was lost as he went about accumulating runs quickly forging a 76-run partnership with Easwaran for the second wicket. The latter too got to his half-century but like Anmolpreet could not convert it into a big one dragging and innocuous length delivery off pacer Gurbani back onto his stumps for 69.
At 175/2 after 35 overs, India A needed a strong finish to their innings and who better than seasoned campaigner Dinesh Karthik to provide that. The captain quickly got out of his blocks with a cracking drive off Gurbani while Rana too notched up a gear soon becoming the third batsman to reach raise his bat for a fifty. The left-hander eventually perished for 68 trying to cream Chahar over the ropes only to lose his shape on the pull giving Mukund a simple chance at deep midwicket.
Kedar Jadhav came in next and showed just why he is a major contender for the Indian middle-order spot as he slammed two fours and two sixes in an unbeaten 25-ball 41 to take his side over the 290-mark. Karthik too made a case a strong for himself scoring 32 in just 23 deliveries as India A finished strongly.
For India C all-rounder Vijay Shankar returned figures of 3/40 in his 10-over spell. Chahar too chipped in with two wickets but they came at a rather expensive 79 runs in 10 overs.
The final of the Deodhar Trophy will be played between India B and India C at the same ground on October 27.