Hanuma Vihari battled it out amid wickets falling around him and left it to his team’s spinners – K. Gowtham and Manoj Tiwary in particular – to chip away with the ball as India B collected a 30-run win over India C in a low-scoring Deodhar Trophy contest at the Ferozeshah Kotla here on Wednesday. With two wins out of two, the team has now booked its spot in the final to be played on Saturday.
Eleven wickets out of 19 were taken by spinners in what seemed to be a slow pitch that provided grip and turn.
Eventually, the six wickets accounted for by offspinners Gowtham and Tiwary proved decisive; it prevented India C from having a shy at the victory target of 232.
Gowtham began the slide, dismissing captain and opener Ajinkya Rahane before the latter could utilise his valuable time spent at the crease to guide the rest of the chase. Rahane, off the back-foot, played a soft drive that landed at cover’s hands.
Gowtham pegged India C further back by sneaking a delivery through Suresh Raina, who had attempted an aggressive slog-sweep. Thereafter, no recovery was possible as part-time spinner Tiwary joined the party.
Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav all fell prey to soft dismissals. Gill was the first to depart, slicing Tiwary’s low full-toss to short cover.
A partnership of 48 between Yadav and Shankar ensued but ended before it could take any useful shape. Iyer, bowling his legspinners, unsettled Shankar by a skidding delivery that thudded on to the pads of the batsman.
Soon after, Ishan Kishan edged Gowtham behind, and the set Yadav, on whom the entire responsibility now loomed, perished going for a mighty six when the required run-rate had climbed to above six per over.
It was Tiwary’s third wicket, and virtually the final nail in the coffin. The contest may have been closer had Vihari not played a scrappy knock for his second half-century in a row.
With wickets falling all around him, he held one end up and fought through 31.4 overs, stitching useful partnerships with Tiwary, Ankush Bains and Gowtham.
Left-arm spinner Pappu Roy turned out to be India B’s trump card. Tiwary and Gowtham took a liking to his bowling, conjuring a few big hits, but both perished to him.
Roy mixed his deliveries well, brought out his arm balls and his straighter ones amidst his stock deliveries – the sharp turners. One such delivery got the better of Tiwary. The ball pitched on a length, turned just enough to beat the batsman’s defences, and crashed into the stumps.
Later, Gowtham was undone by one that pitched wide of off-stump; attempting one big shot too many, he lofted the bowler towards long-off and was caught. Roy finished with three wickets, continuing his fruitful List A season.
The early damage was done by fast bowler Rajneesh Gurbani, who removed openers Prashant Chopra and Mayank Agarwal seemingly through sheer pace.
He claimed his third wicket, however, with a slower ball, dismissing Vihari in the 45th over – the innings’ ninth and final wicket to fall as India B stumbled to 231.
On the slow pitch, it proved a much superior total than its opponents’.
India B 231 for 9 in 50 overs (Hanuma Vihari 76, Ankush Bains 25, Rajneesh Gurbani 3 for 38, Pappu Roy 3 for 45) beat India C 201 in 48.2 overs (Suryakumar Yadav 39, Shubman Gill 36, K. Gowtham 3 for 40, Manoj Tiwary 3 for 44).