Duleep Trophy final: India Red faces India Green as tournament awaits outright result

Similar to the 2018 edition of Duleep Trophy, none of the round-robin matches has produced a result as India Green takes on India Red in the final starting Wednesday.

Karun Nair has been the tournament's highest run-scorer with 355 runs at an average of 177.50.   -  SUDHAKARA JAIN

After three matches and three draws (one got abandoned after 49 overs of play on Day 1), the three-team Duleep Trophy — which ushers the new Indian domestic season — has already reached the final stretch. Contrary to expectations of a day-night match, the Duleep Trophy final between India Red and India Green will be a red-ball affair which begins at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

The summit clash had been played with pink ball in a day-night format in the previous two seasons and a similar format was expected to be followed this year. With no official announcement in that regard, the organisers confirmed it would be a traditional red-ball day game. 

The two teams played out a draw in their last round-robin match at the Alur Grounds. India Red, which had already qualified for the final by virtue of its first-innings lead against India Blue in its opening match, took a one-run lead against India Green to stay on top of the table with six points.

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India Green pipped India Blue on better net run-rate to make it to the final.

The final will see Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan playing for India Red after completing his duty for India 'A' against the visiting South Africa 'A' side. Already under the radar of the selectors as a possible option in their plans to manage Rishabh Pant’s workload, Kishan would look to make it count in the final. Leg-spinner Mayank Markande will replace Rahul Chahar, who will take his place in the India 'A' side for the last two one-day games against South Africa 'A', in the India Green side. 

In terms of form, India Red’s batting has helped the team secure bonus points by achieving first-innings leads in both its matches to top the table. Karun Nair has been the top-scorer in the tournament with 355 runs, adding a century and two 90 plus scores to his tally; left-handed batsman Mahipal Lomror scored a century against India Green before pacer Avesh Khan denied India Red the lead with a fighting half-century to go with his four-wicket haul. Going by form, and luck, Red will be the team to beat. India Green, however, did not get to bat in the first match but managed to register 440 in the first innings thanks to a knock of 146 from opener Akshath Reddy. 

India Green batsman Priyam Garg, who was hit on the neck while fielding, is expected to be fit. 

Short spells of rain are expected throughout the week, potentially keeping the groundsmen busy. Despite limited sunshine, an excellent drainage facility at the stadium should ensure smooth progress of the match. A competitive match and an outright result will be the ideal conclusion to a tournament that has constantly been restructured and tinkered with to keep it relevant in the changing dynamics of domestic cricket.

Teams (from)

India Red: Priyank Panchal (captain), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Axar Patel, Mahipal Lomror, Karun Nair, Akshay Wakhare, Varun Aaron, Aditya Sarvate, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Avesh Khan, Ankit R Kalsi, Sandeep Warrier, Jaydev Unadkat, Ishan Kishan (WK).

India Green: Faiz Fazal (captain), Akshath Reddy, Dhruv Shorey, Siddhesh Lad, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja, Tanveer ul-Haq, Milind Kumar, Priyam Garg, Akshdeep Nath, Ankit Rajpoot, Akshath Reddy, Akshay Wadkar (WK), Rajesh Mohanty, Mayank Markande, Jayant Yadav.

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