Avesh Khan hit 64 off 56 balls and the knock included seven sixes as India Red entered the final of the Duleep Trophy where they will face India Green. (Image credit: Twitter)
India Red were staring down the barrel at 398/9 in response to India Green's total of 440 all out. At stake was a place in the finals for both sides. Avesh Khan, known more for his bowling than batting, had Sandeep Warrier for company as the pair looked to create a miracle. On the final day of the match, Avesh chose his moment and scored a brilliant 64 off 56 balls with two fours and seven sixes as India Red did the unthinkable and secured a one-run lead. The result meant that India Red qualified for the final. India Green also managed one point and they were level on points with India Blue. However, since India Green's Net Run-Rate (0.057) was far superior than that of India Blue (0.028), they entered the final.
The match was full of twists and turns at the KSCA Cricket Ground, Alur. Akshath Reddy smashed a century and fifties from Siddhesh Lad and Priyam Garg helped India Green reach 440 all out. Akshay Wakhare was the star with 5/103. There was a moment of tension when Garg was hit by a bouncer on the side of the neck from Avesh Khan and he underwent preliminary tests which cleared him of any serious injury.
In response, Karun Nair led the way with a briliant 90 as he continued his good form at the start of the season but the base was laid brilliantly by Mahipal Lomror who blasted 126. The knock included 14 fours and three sixes but Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Tanveer ul Haq took four and two wickets respectively to put India Red in trouble. However, Avesh's counterattack helped India Red salvage a crucial one-run lead. In the second innings, India Green managed 98/3 in 54 overs as the match ended in a draw.
The league stages were unique in the fact that none of the three teams registered an outright win. India Red were benefited by taking a lead in both of their games against India Blue and India Red. However, the league games in Alur were marred by rain and one hopes that the final at the M Chinnaswamy stadium goes the whole distance.