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Bowlers, Vihari flatten India A in Deodhar opener

(File photo) Hanuma Vihari scored an unbeaten 95 in India B's victory
(File photo) Hanuma Vihari scored an unbeaten 95 in India B's victory © BCCI
A much-fancied India A side was dealt a humbling defeat by India B in the Deodhar Trophy opener in Dharamsala on Sunday (March 4), with the latter chasing down a revised total of 175 from 43 overs with 100 balls to spare. Hanuma Vihari slammed an unbeaten 76-ball 95 while Abhimanyu Easwaran and Shreyas Iyer chipped in with little contribution to chomp down at the target in rapid pace.
But before the batting onslaught, which incidentally came on a dried-out wicket, India B's bowlers ripped through an imposing looking line-up after winning the toss. Even before rain arrived, India A had lost the cream of their batting in the face of a relentless probing bowling attack. Prithvi Shaw struck three quick boundaries at the start but his opening partner Ishan Kishan, poked at a Siddarth Kaul delviery to fall for 2.
That early wicket brought together two shining members of the recent U-19 World Cup winning team, Shaw and Shubman Gill. That excitement was snuffed out as quickly as it was built up when Gill mistimed a cut off a harmlessly short Umesh Yadav delivery straight to backward point. 21 for 2 soon became 42 for 4 as Shaw fell to left-arm spinner Dharmendrasinh Jadeja while captain Ankit Bawne fell to Kaul after a painstaking 21-ball 5.
Rain arrived but if India A hoped it would lash long enough to save them the ignominy of a defeat, all it did was reduce the game to a 43-overs affair, further exacerbating the problems built by a slow start. When play resumed, the spinners found enough grip and Suryakumar Yadav and Krunal Pandya fell prey to DA Jadeja's tricks. But while batsmen followed one another back into the dressing room, Ricky Bhui held firm with a face-saving 78. By the end of his innings, in which he'd struck five fours, four sixes and shared a 45-run stand with Basil Thampi, he'd given the team a total of 178 - at least to compete with.
Unfortunately for India A, by the time it was their turn to bowl, the pitch had dried and flattened out significantly. Mohammed Shami removed Srikar Bharat in the first over but struggled to hold the runs down, conceding at over 8 runs per over through his six overs. Abhimanyu Easwaran scored 43 and shared a 98-run stand for the second wicket with Vihari, who cut, drove and flicked with impeccable control. As the game approached a hasty end, the only challenge for him was to see if he could time his innings so as to get a century. He finished five short but given his team's dominance, he wouldn't lose much sleep over this missed opportunity.
Brief scores: India A 178 in 41.2 overs (Ricky Bhui 78; DA Jadeja 4-36) lost to India B 175/2 in 26.2 overs (Hanuma Vihari 95*; Krunal Pandya 1-21) by 8 wickets (VJD Method)

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