Abhishek Nayar's knock guides India Blue to against Delhi in NKP Salve Challenger Trophy

Abhishek Nayar top-scored for India Blue with 91, smashing 13 fours and one six © IANS

Sep 26, 2013

Middle-order batsman Abhishek Nayar smashed  91 off 73 balls as India Blue reached a total 270 for six in the first NKP Salve Challenger Trophy match against Delhi at Indore on Thursday.

Nayar smashed 13 fours and one six at a strike-rate of 124.65. While Hyderabad batsman Akshath Reddy scored 53 after starting slow.

After winning the toss, Delhi skipper Virat Kohli opted to field first. Senior bowler Ashish Nehra opened the bowling for Delhi as Naman Ojha and Reddy opened the batting for India Blue.

India Blue reached 50 at the end of the 14th over without losing any wicket. It seemed like the two teams were playing more of a Test match as nothing exciting had happened yet. In the 15th over, Ojha was trappped leg-before by senior and experienced Delhi bowler Rajat Bhatia. Ojha, who looked to paddle sweep the ball, missed and the ball struck in front of the off-stump. Ojha scored 23 off 43 balls. New batsman Manish Pandey, failed to impress again, as he was clean bowled by Bhatia in the same over. Pandey missed the ball and it knocked the off-stump.

Sibsankar Roy (5) from Assam, who replaced an injured Mandeep Singh in the squad, didn’t last long. He was Bhatia’s third victicm. Roy tried to knock one of Bhatia’s off-side delivery only to hit an inside edge and knocking the stumps down.

By this time, Reddy had settled down well. Nayar joined him at the crease. In the 23rd over of the match, Reddy reached his half-century by smashing a four off Bhatia. However, in the next over he was dismissed by Varoon Sood. Reddy tried to hoick the ball but he missed and the ball knocked the middle-stump.

Ankeet Bawne was the new batsman to come in. Nayar seemed to have got into grips with the situation as he hit Sood for a six over mid-wicket. He smashed Sood again a few overs later. He swept one delivery to deep square-leg for a boundary and the next time he smashed it to the fine-leg region.

It was time for Sumit Narwal to face Nayar’s rampage. He hit one straight down the ground and smacked the another over the mid-wicket. Nayar reached his half-century by smashing a full toss off Sood to extra-cover for a boundary. Skipper Kohli tried to stop the run but the dive went in vain.

Bawne, who made sure Nayar got enough strike by taking singles, was trapped leg-before by Narwal.

Nayar was dropped by Narwal in the 34th over of the match. Nayar hit the ball back to Narwal’s hand but the bowler couldn’t hold onto the catch. Piyush Chawla came to bat next and he looked for boundaries early on.

Finally, Nayar’s knock came to an end in the 42nd over as Kohli took a simple catch off Milind Kumar’s delivery at cover. Nayar missed out on scoring a century by nine runs.

After Nayar’s dismissal, Chawla and Bhuvneshwar Kumar targeted the Delhi bowlers as they added 48 runs from 43 balls. Kumar struck a six off Nehra over long-off. A few balls later, he dispatched a short length ball to the mid-wicket for a boundary. Kumar scored an unbeaten 29 off 23 balls.

Chawla, who scored an unbeaten 40 off 50 balls, smashed three fours. Chawla and Nayar’s sixth-wicket partnership of 71 runs was the highest in the India Blue’s innings.

Brief score:

India Blue 270 for 6 in 50 overs (Akshath Reddy 53, Abhishek Nayar 91; Rajat Bhatia 3 for 46) vs Delhi.