Brilliant rescue act from Axar Patel and Virat Singh thwarts India B

India C 280 for 5 (Axar 98*, Virat Singh 76*, Karthik 34, Nadeem 2-37 beat India B 144 (Aparajith 53, Markande 4-25, Saxena 2-25, Porel 2-33 by 136 runs

A fantastic rescue act from Axar Patel (98 not out and Virat Singh (76 not out paved the way for India C’s comprehensive win in what was effectively a dead Deodhar Trophy rubber against India B in Ranchi.

The sixth-wicket pair rescued a floundering innings from 126 for 5 in the 32nd over by adding 154 runs, in quick time at that, to take them to 280 for 5. The last ten overs produced 122 runs, with Axar contributing 76 of those.

Axar was, however, unable to get the two runs he needed to bring up his maiden List A century. He finished with 13 fours and three sixes in his 61-ball knock. In comparison, Virat hit only three fours and as many sixes, instead focusing on rotating the strike.

Prior to the two coming together, Vijay Shankar, Mohammed Siraj and Shahbaz Nadeem had combined to rock the India C top order after Shubman Gill won the toss and opted to bat. He scored just 1, and Anmolpreet Singh, Priyam Garg and Suryakumar Yadav scored 51 runs between them, as they sank to 70 for 4 in the 18th over. The revival began with Dinesh Karthik joining Virat in the middle, and the two added 56 together before Karthik was dismissed for 34 by Nitish Rana. Virat and Patel took over after that.

India B’s chase started slowly, as B Aparajith and Yashasvi Jaiswal tried to consolidate after the early loss of Ruturaj Gaikwad. But their 40-run stand for the second wicket was the highest of the innings, and was broken when Jalaj Saxena, who picked up a career-best 7 for 41 on Friday, had Jaiswal chipping to cover.

The only batsman besides the top three to get into double-digits was Nadeem, who made 12. Mayank Markande, the legspinner, ripped through the middle order to finish with career-best figures of 4 for 25 to hasten the collapse. Aparajith, who made a century in his outing two days ago, was the lone ranger, making 53 before being the ninth batsman out.

The two sides will again meet in Monday’s final at the same venue.