Murali Vijay leads India Red to final with smart century

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Murali Vijay (104) smashed a splendid century and shared a 155-run stand with Shikhar Dhawan (68) as India Red trounced India Green by eight wickets.

Updated: October 10, 2009 18:16 IST
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Murali Vijay (104) smashed a splendid century and shared a 155-run stand with Shikhar Dhawan (68) as India Red trounced India Green by eight wickets to move to the final of NKP Salve Challenger tournament here on Friday.

Chasing a modest 224 to win, India Red dashed the target with 11.2 overs to spare to earn a bonus point as Vijay and Dhawan set up the comprehensive victory with their opening stand at VCA stadium.

The India Red batsmen complimented the good work done by their bowlers, who did a fantastic job by restricting India Green to 223 for seven.

India Green's decision to bat backfired as their top order struggled to score.

Fighting half-centuries by Saurabh Tiwary (66) and Sikkanth Anirudha (58) helped them put up something fight-able on the board.

Munaf Patel was the most successful bowler for India Red with his three wickets but he was expensive as well as he leaked 57 from his 10 overs. R Ashwin (2/40) took two wickets.

Vijay and Dhawan laid a solid platform for the win as they batting quite freely.

After getting a feel of the wicket, they started playing their strokes and were hardly troubled by the India Green bowlers, who cut a sorry figure on Friday.

Vijay's knock came off 117 balls and hit 10 fluent boundaries and a six. Left-handed Dhawan helped himself with eight boundaries during his 81-ball stay at the crease.

India Green bowlers did not taste success until 30th over and by then Vijay and Dhawan had taken away the match from them.

Paceman Dhawal Kulkarni broke the pair when he had Dhawan caught by Laxmipati Balaji.

Skipper S Badrinath joined hands with Vijay and they put up 53 runs for the second wicket. Badrinath scored at a brisk pace and raced away to an unbeaten 34 off just 29 balls with two fours and a six.

Earlier, India Green suffered early jolts and required some gutsy batting by Tiwari and Anirudha to put on a fighting total.

Sudeep Tyagi drew the first blood when he accounted for diminutive stumper Parthiv Patel (12) in his second over to give Reds a good start.

Munaf Patel then dealt the Reds double blow as he first got rid of Ajinkya Rahane (2) and then dangerous rival skipper Suresh Raina (15).

Tanmay Srivastava (41) was the only top-order batsman who put up some resistance and after his dismissal the Green's innings was in complete disarray.

Tiwary and Anirudha though made sure with their 74-run stand for the fifth wicket that India Green bowlers do have something respectable to defend.

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