New Delhi: Hanuma Vihari and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem produced match-winning efforts to guide India B to a 43-run win in their Deodhar Trophy opener, spoiling a fighting 99 from India A captain Dinesh Karthik here on Tuesday.
Vihari made an unbeaten 87 off 95 balls and shared a 99-run stand for the fourth wicket with Manoj Tiwary (52 off 58) to guide India B to 261 for eight after opting to bat.
Later, Nadeem, who opened the bowling, picked up three crucial wickets including that of Karthik (99 off 114) to tilt the game in his team's favour, following a 123-run sixth wicket stand between the wicket-keeper batsman and R Ashwin (54 off 76) kept India A in the game at least till the 44th over.
Nadeem ended with figures of three for 32 in 10 overs and got good support from leg-spinner Mayank Markande (4/48) and lead pacer Varun Aaron (2/45).
Chasing 262 in the good batting conditions, India A were dealt a double blow with Nadeem trapping Prithvi Shaw and Karun Nair off consecutive balls in the third over.
While Nair's LBW was a straightforward call, Shaw was unfortunate as it appeared that the the teenage sensation had edged the ball before it struck his pads.
Shaw's opening partner Anmolpreet Singh made a promising start but threw it away by pulling one straight to square leg off Deepak Chahar.
Aaron, who was occasionally wayward, removed Ankeet Bawne and Krunal Pandya, leaving India A at a precarious 87 for five in the 20th over.
That left a mountain to climb for skipper Karthik, who was running out of partners. But he finally found an able ally in Ashwin and they both used their years of experience to take the team close to the finishing line.
Needing 53 off the last 48 balls and two set batsmen in the middle, India A were favourites. However, Tamil Nadu teammates Karthik and Ashwin fell in the space of 10 balls to turn the match in India B's favour.
Ashwin was stumped off Markande while Karthik, struggling with cramps, ?was dejected after offering a return catch to Nadeem.
It was a fighting effort from Karthik and he deserved to score a hundred but fell short by just one run.
Earlier, India B's Mayank Agarwal (46 off 47) and captain Shreyas Iyer (41 off 47) played a flurry of delightful strokes before loose shot selection led to their downfall.
Agarwal, who was in the Test squad against the West Indies but did not get a game, looked in sublime touch. His drives and punches through the cover were a treat to watch.
With both Agarwal and Iyer in the middle at 87 for one, India B looked set for a 300 plus total. However, they both departed in quick succession and the onus to take the innings forward was on Vihari and Tiwary.
From 95 for three, they batted sensibly to share a 99-run stand which ended after a terrible mix up, leading to Tiwary's run out following a well made half-century.
From there on, India B never got a move on and ended up well shot of the 300-run mark.