Abhimanyu sets up India A's series-clinching win

Abhimanyu Easwaran's 104-ball 83 helped India A to 289 for six before Shahbaz Nadeem and Siddarth Kaul wrecked the Kiwi line-up.

Abhimanyu Easwaran's 104-ball 83 contained seven fours. (File photo)   -  RAJEEV BHATT

Despite George Worker’s century for New Zealand A, India A coasted to a 64-run victory in the fourth one-day game at the Rajiv Gandhi ACA-VDCA international stadium on Friday and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the limited overs series.

In pursuit of the host’s 289 for six, the visiting team managed to muster 226. The Kiwis lost the centurion of the first game, Glenn Phillips, and Will Young for just 29. The former was bowled by Siddharth Kaul, while the latter fell prey to a spectacular catch at mid on by Prashant Chopra, who leapt to his right to hold a low chance, also off Kaul.

Worker then combined with captain Henry Nicholls to stabilise the innings, the left-handed duo putting on 74 for the fourth wicket. Worker dominated the strike, and drove the ball straight, square through the covers — the Palmerston native’s strokes were struck firmly with power and assurance.

He nudged Karn Sharma to backward of point to scamper for a single that brought up his century in 98 balls. Eleven boundaries and two sixes adorned his innings. When he was trapped in front by Shahbaz Nadeem for 108, New Zealand was still 75 runs short of target.

Rishabh Pant won the toss and chose to bat. Friday’s game was played on the same strip as the two earlier ones, which slowed the pitch further. Prashant Chopra couldn’t carry forward his prolific Ranji Trophy form. The Himachal Pradesh batsman’s top edge was picked up by Colin de Grandhomme at long leg when the former pulled Scott Kuggeleijn’s rising delivery.

His fellow opener Abhimanyu Easwaran thrived, putting on 86 runs with Ankeet Bawane for the second wicket. The former logged his half century with his fifth boundary, a straight drive off Matt Henry. But Bawane didn’t last; his edge from a defensive prod off Worker’s gentle left-arm spin was gloved by Tom Blundell.

A century beckoned Easwaran (83, 104b, 7x4), who backed up too far for a flick to Phillips at square leg. Phillips relayed the ball to Tom Bruce, who promptly broke stumps at the bowler’s end.

Hooda heaved two sixes and slammed five fours for a 64-ball 59, sharing a fourth wicket stand of 67 with Easwaran and 45 for the fifth wicket with Vijay Shankar. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder stole the thunder soon, smacking five sixes, two of them off successive balls and four fours for a 33-ball 61.

BRIEF SCORECARD

India A 289 for six (Abhimanyu Easwaran 83, Ankeet Bawane 39, Deepak Hooda 59, Vijay Shankar 61) beat New Zealand A  225 in 45.1 overs (George Worker 108, Henry Nicholls 37, Tom Blundell 31; Shahbaz Nadeem four for 33, Siddharth Kaul three for 25)