Indore, Sep 26 (IANS) Virender Sehwag came back to form with a fine half-century to attract the attention of the national selectors but not enough to prevent a 18-run loss for Delhi against India Blue in the first limited overs match of the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy here Thursday.
Without skipper Yuvraj Singh, who was out due to a stiff back, India Blue -- riding on a 73-ball-91 by Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar -- made a competitive 270 for six in 50 overs.
In reply, Sehwag displayed his aggressive style of play as he scored 58 in only 39 balls, hitting nine boundaries and a six, but couldn't prevent Delhi from getting skittled out for 252 in 47.5 overs.
Veteran Rajat Bhatia, who picked up 3/46, also scored 65 runs for a great all-round effort while Ashish Nehra came up with a career best List A score of 37 not out.
Led by Virat Kohli, Delhi will now have to beat India Red. They also have to expect a favourable outcome in the encounter between between Blue and Red, slated for Friday, if they are to make the final.
Some 10,000-odd spectators, who had turned out for the match, expected some fireworks from Kohli but the Delhi captain disappointed as he managed just five and edged to Naman Ojha off Bhuvneshwar Kumar's (3/58) away going delivery.
Sehwag started off in his customary style, a powerful punchy cover drive off Kumar. In the next over, Sehwag came down heavily on Vinay Kumar, hitting for a four through the covers and then lofted him over extra cover for a six.
Sehwag, who played his last competitive match in the IPL, was in great touch. He was finally dismissed by Bengal left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena, who took a good return catch to leave Delhi in trouble at 85 for four.
Bhatia and Nehra tried to do the rescue act as they added 55 runs for the ninth wicket but not enough to avoid the loss.