All-rounder Washington Sundar produced some scintillating cricket to guide India Red to a comprehensive 163-run win over India Blue in the Duleep Trophy final in Lucknow.
The Tamil Nadu all-rounder, who was called in for the final as a replacement for spinner Karn Sharma, continued his good showing from the first-innings by scalping six wickets in the second essay to guide the Dinesh Karthik-led side to title triumph on Thursday (September 28).
Resuming Day 4 on 187 for 7, India Red managed to add only 21 runs to their total. Washington was out edging to Raina on his overnight score of 42, while the spin duo of Akshay Wakhare and Bhargav Bhatt snared the remaining wickets between them. Siddharth Kaul hit a boundary and a six in his entertaining knock of 17, but could only help them reach 208 before getting bowled out.
With a first-innings lead of 184, the target of 393 was always going to be a stiff task. Ishan Kishan, who was promoted to open the innings alongside Abhimanyu Easwaran, went on the attack early. However, his assault lasted only 11 deliveries before getting bowled by Washington.
The intent to attack was clear.
On a wicket that was turning square since day 1, Karthik was content to keep only the spinners in operation. Barring four overs by part-timers - Suryakumar Yadav and Akhil Herwadkar - the frontline spinners, Vijay Gohil and Washington, bowled between them all of 48 overs in India Blue's second innings.
In good measure, India Blue's decision to attack reaped rewards, especially while the experienced duo of Raina and Manoj Tiwary were at the crease after the early fall of the openers. Having put on an 80-run stand for the third wicket, India Blue imposed themselves well even as the target seemed daunting, when on 127 for 2. However, in successive overs, Washington trapped both of them leg-before and thus began India Blue's collapse.
Washinton's spell only got an impetus as he dismissed the remaining top order batsmen - Deepak Hooda and KS Bharath - cheaply too, in the next five deliveries and left the side tottering at 137 for 6.
There were some handy contributions by the lower order batsmen, but that came too late and proved to be too little. Bhargav Bhatt smashed his way to a 41-ball 51, hitting five sixes and a solitary boundary, in company of Jaydev Unadkat (10) and Ishant Sharma (20), before getting bundled out for 229.
Gohil, who had bagged a fifer in the first innings, added three more to his tally and finished with match figures of 8 for 223. Suryakumar Yadav too got his name in the wickets column, taking the return catch of Bhatt.