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Uthappa guides Air India Red to Corporate Trophy triumph

September 08, 2009 22:37 IST

Robin Uthappa hit an unbeaten 157 and Yuvraj Singh took three crucial wickets as Air India Red clinched the BCCI Corporate Trophy, beating Air India Blue by 93 runs at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on Tuesday.

Put into bat, Air India Red first posted a challenging 284 for eight, riding on Uthappa's blistering 148-ball innings, and then shot out Air India Blue for a meagre 191 in 41.5 overs.

Air India Red skipper Yuvraj emerged the wrecker-in-chief as he took three crucial wickets, which included the prized scalps of Mohd Kaif (32) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (0) with consecutive balls. Reetinder Sodhi (11) was his third victim.

Chasing 285 to win, Air India Blue lost opener Manvinder Bisla (10) in the fourth over but Kaif and Chandan Madan played sensibly and forged a 74-run partnership to reach 86 in 15 overs.

Looking for a wicket, Yuvraj introduced himself into the attack and got rid of Kaif and Dhoni with successive deliveries to leave Air India Blue tottering at 88 for three in 16.2 overs.

Madan stood tall amid the ruins, scoring a defiant 85 in 126 balls, inclusive of nine fours, before perishing in the 42nd over as Air India Blue looked down the barrel.

Ankeet Chavan picked three wickets and Dhawal Kulkarni one.

Earlier, Uthappa blasted 11 fours and six sixes to single-handedly anchor Air India Red's innings, while Sushant Marathe (36), Suresh Raina (28) chipped in with useful contributions after Air India Blue skipper Harbhajan Singh won the toss and inserted them.

Air India Red had a bad start, as they lost opener Naman Ojha (0) to the second ball of the innings, but Marathe (36 off 32) sent the first ball of the next over for a boundary and stitched together a 79-run second-wicket partnership with Uthappa to steady the innings.

Uthappa blended composure with aggression and picked up ones and twos while scoring odd boundaries in between to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Even though wickets kept tumbling at the other end, he stood firm to guide his team to a commanding position.

After Marathe was sent packing by Harbhajan in the 14th over, Yuvraj Singh (17 off 39), Suresh Raina (28 off 24) and Paul Valthaty (18) couldn't convert the starts, leaving it to Uthappa to rescue the innings.

For Air India Blue, RP Singh, Pankaj Singh, Sachin Rana and Harbhajan scalped a wicket each.

Brief scores:

Air India Red: 284 for 8 in 50 overs (Robin Uthappa 157 n.o, Sushant Marathe 36, Suresh Raina 28; Harbhajan Singh 4/55, Pankaj Singh 2/64) bt Air India Blue: 191 all out in 41.5 overs (Chandan Madan 85, Mohammad Kaif 32; Yuvraj Singh 3/30, Ankeet Chavan 3/29).

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