Ind A vs NZ A, One Day Series

[JUGRAJ SINGH]

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India A pulled off a two-wicket win in a nail-biting finish against New Zealand A to sweep the three-game one-day series 3-0. Chasing 291, Ashok Menaria and Kedar Jadhav kept India A in the hunt with a 128-run partnership, while Mandeep Singh guided the hosts to victory a 27-ball
37.
Earlier, Basant Mohanty claimed Luke Ronchi early in the innings, after Unmukt Chand invited the visitors to bat first. However, Anton Devcich and Carl Cachopa prevented further mishaps and laid a solid foundation for their team. The duo added 103 runs for the second wicket, until Cachopa offered a catch to Kedar Jadhav off Sandeep Sharma. Devcich (66) followed him back 14 runs later.
Skipper Tom Latham joined Corey Anderson in the middle. Scoring at over quick pace, the pair garnered 91 runs, until Jalaj Saxena rattled Anderson’s (59) woodwork. The off-spinner, who had replaced Dhawal Kulkarni in the playing XI, then dealt another blow and bowled a wicket maiden. He sent back Colin Munro off the first ball in his next over. Doug Bracewell was also run out off the last ball of that over.
Even Latham (53) did not last much longer and lost his stumps to Ashok Menaria in the following over. With four wickets falling in four overs, NZ A were 234 for seven in the 42nd and again in danger of being bowled out before batting out their full quota. But Todd Astle and Scott Kuggeleijn prevented the team from being bowled out. The lower-order batters added 56 runs for the eighth wicket, before getting out off the last two deliveries of the innings. Their scoring at a quick pace helped the visitors set a competitive 291-run target.
During India A’s innings, Mark Gillespie dealt a couple of early blows. The pacer first claimed Unmukt Chand (11), who edged the ball to ‘keeper. Viswanadh followed him back after adding just five runs. Six overs later, India A lost another important wicket as Robin Uthappa (46) nicked Anderson to Ronchi behind the stumps. Sachin Baby was bowled by Ish Sodhi in the next over.
The home team was struggling on 79 for four when Kedar Jadhav and Ashok Menaria came together and launched a counterattack. Menaria was in superb touch as he found boundaries and hit sixes with ease to keep India A in the reckoning. He was complemented by Jadhav who too went after the bowling. In the 25th over, Menaria clobbered Astle for 24 runs, including three big hits. Jadhav smashed Sodhi for a six in the next, while Menaria followed up with two more – hitting Astle over long-off and long on-off in the following over.
Menaria raced to his half-century with a boundary to thirdman off Devcich. And a while later, Jadhav, who had survived a tough chance off Sodhi while on 30, reached his fifty off 53 balls. The right-hand bat was eventually run out for 57, halting the fruitful partnership for 128.
Two dot balls later, with India still needing 84 runs in a little more than 12 overs, Menaria top-edged Kuggeleijn and Sodhi took a running catch to tip the balance again in the visitors’ favour. With Menaria’s 50-ball stay coming to end for 69, Jalaj Saxena joined Mandeep Singh in the middle.
But 35 runs later, with the match precariously placed, Saxena edged to the ball to the ‘keeper. However, Singh continued to rally on and was ably supported by Rahul Sharma in an effort to take the team across the line. With 25 runs required off 18 balls, Singh smashed two boundaries and a six to help collect 18 runs of the 48th over and bring his side closer to victory. While Gillespie removed Rahul Sharma in the 49th over, by then the match was India A’s to lose. Sandeep Sharma, who then took guard, scored the two runs required for the hosts to bag the match and sweep the series 3-0.
Brief scores: New Zealand A 290/9 in 50 overs (A Devcich 66, C Anderson 59, T Latham 53, B Mohanty 2/39, A Menaria 2/45, J Saxena 2/60) lost to India A 291/8 in 49.2 overs (A Menaria 69, K Jadhav 57, M Gillespie 3/43) by 2 wickets[/img]
 
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