Deodhar Trophy: Vihari, bowlers star in India B's thumping win

A target of 175 in 43 overs was always going to be tough to defend since India 'B' boasted of substance in its batting line-up and the end result was on predictable lines.

India B was a runaway winner.   -  R.V. Moorthy

Beginning the innings in sunny environs, the India 'A' team lost the momentum early and failed to confront India 'B' with a challenging total in the opening fixture of the Deodhar Trophy here. A target of 175 in 43 overs was always going to be tough to defend since India 'B' boasted of substance in its batting line-up and the end result was on predictable lines. The eight–wicket win for India 'B' came with 100 balls to spare, leaving Hanuma Vihari five short of a century.

Injudicious shot selection caused the early havoc in the India 'A' camp when Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan and Shubhman Gill made an unwise attempt to collar the attack before studying the conditions well. Presented with easy pickings, India 'B' struck decisive blows by removing skipper Ankit Bawne and Surya Kumar Yadav, the latter may count himself unlucky to be ruled leg-before.

At 92 for six, it appeared a mis-match before Andhra batsman Ricky Bhui gave the contest a semblance of competition with a 107-ball 78 (five 4s and four 6s).

It took Bhui’s colleague at Andhra, Vihari, to put things in perspective. He just tore into the attack with his clinical shots, the drives especially, square and in front, that stunned the opposition into tame submission. Vihari, for long, has been rated for his natural ability to pick the line early and here he was spotting too early, much to the discomfort of the India 'A' seamers.

Read: Key highlights - India A vs India B

Rain expectedly interrupted the match with the India 'A' innings 14 overs old. Electing to field, India 'B' could pat itself for the decision since a lot depended on the pair of Shaw and Kishan. They have the flair to decimate the opposition. Not this afternoon though. Their dismissals set the trend for the innings and barring Bhui’s face-saving knock, India 'A' would have embraced greater embarrassment.

Bhui chose his shots and picked the gaps adroitly. Only he lacked support. That was not the case with Vihari, who showed the way to his partner by displaying the aggression needed to establish early dominance. Forceful drives and silken timing showed the awesome potential Vihari showcases since he targeted Mohammad Shami and Navdeep Saini, two new-ball bowlers of repute. His 50 included 11 fours and reflected his mindset at the crease – not to allow the bowlers time to settle.

Thanks to Vihari’s knock (76 balls, 16 fours and one six), India 'B’, which meets Karnataka on Monday, was a runaway winner.