Shikhar Dhawan’s stubborn century along with a spirited performance by the bowlers gave India B a 23-run win over India A in the first match of the 2017 Deodhar Trophy. Dhawan’s knock came at the right time as this will put him in contention for a place in the Indian ODI team for the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
All the Indian internationals with the exception of Harbhajan Singh (0/72 in 10 overs and 2 runs with the bat) put on a good show in the first match of the tournament that features the 2017 Vijay Hazare champions Tamil Nadu as the third team.
Chasing 328 to win, India A got off to a decent start, thanks to their openers Mandeep Singh and Mayank Agarwal before both the batsmen were dismissed in the space of 3 overs. Indian discards Ambati Rayudu and Manoj Tiwary came together at the crease and threatened to take the game away from India A. The duo shared a 79-run partnership before Tiwary was dismissed by Mumbai Indians’ latest signing Kulwant Khejroliya.
Rishabh Pant didn't last long as he went back to the pavilion after scoring just 20. Rayudu scored his fifty and kept his team in the hunt. He was supported well by Krunal Pandya, who scored a 23-ball 31 before getting out to Akshay Karnewar. Karnewar struck again in his next over to dismiss a well-set Rayudu for 92.
Deepak Hooda tried his best to get his team home with a 27-ball 46 but he just managed to delay the inevitable as India B sneaked home by 23 runs. Dhawal Kulkarni sealed the game for his team by taking a hat-trick (Shardul Thakur off the last ball of 47th over, Deepak Hooda and Siddharth Kaul off the first two balls of the 49th over). Kulkarni, along with Karnewar scalped 3 wickets each while Khejroliya and Axar Patel picked two wickets apiece.
Earlier in the day, India B posted a challenging total of 327/8 in their 50 overs. Openers Dhawan and Parthiv Patel set the tone for their team as the duo put on a 93-run partnership for the first wicket in 16.2 overs.
Parthiv was dismissed for 50 off the bowling of Siddharth Kaul and later in the over, Kaul sent back Shreevats Goswami. Dhawan took centre stage, reaching his fifty and along with Jharkhand's Ishank Jaggi, the dashing southpaw put on a 103-run partnership for the third wicket before Krunal Pandya accounted for Jaggi soon after the Jharkhand batsman reached his fifty.
Dhawan reached his century off 114 balls and off the next 7 balls, he scored 28 runs before getting out to Deepak Hooda off the eighth. He scored a 122-ball 128 with the help of 13 fours and 3 sixes. Some notable contributions from Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Axar Patel and Gurkeerat Mann towards the end took their total over 320.
Kaul picked a five-wicket haul as he finished with figures of 5/59 while Krunal bowled his eight overs conceding 41 runs and picked 2 wickets.
Brief scores: India B 327/8 in 50 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 128, Parthiv Patel 50, Ishank Jaggi 53, Siddharth Kaul 5/59) beat India A 304 in 48.2 overs (Ambati Rayudu 92, Deepak Hooda 48, Akshay Karnewar 3/60, Dhawal Kulkarni 3/64) by 23 runs.