Cuttack, Oct 23 (IANS) Robin Uthappa staked his claim for a one-day berth for the forthcoming England series as he hit a brilliant 94 in India Blue's 49-run win over India Red in the opening match of the N.K.P. Salve Challenger Trophy here Thursday.
Uthappa's breezy 106-ball innings helped India Blue score a modest 235 for nine in 50 overs at the packed Barabati Stadium. In reply, India Red were all out for 186 runs in 45.3 overs, with opener Murali Vijay scoring a fighting 89.
India Blue raced off to a flying start with openers Uthappa and Ajinkya Rahane (28) adding 87 runs. Skipper Yuvraj Singh (6), who came in after Rahane's departure, failed to click and went for an ambitious lofty shot off Vinay Kumar but Red's captain Subramaniam Badrinath took a brilliant catch running backwards to disappoint his counterpart.
Spinner Monish Parmar picked up Virat Kohli (18) and Dinesh Karthik in three balls in the 27th over to trigger the collapse from where they failed to recover. Irfan Pathan then hit a 43 off 44 balls to help India Blue cross the 200-mark.
While chasing, India Red failed to get a good start and lost wickets at regular intervals. Vijay resolute innings lasted 107 balls but he didn't get good support from the other end. Manoj Tewari remained unbeaten on 43 in a losing cause but left the doors open for a national call.
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