1st unofficial ODI: Vijay Shankar leads India-A to winning start against New Zealand-A

India was set 309 for a win and led by Vijay Shankar, it coasted to the target with six balls to spare.

Vijay Shankar 's unbeaten 87 led India to a four-wicket win. (file photo)   -  C. V. Subrahmanyam

India-A beat New Zealand-A by four wickets in the first unofficial ODI at Mount Maunganui on Friday, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Set a target of 309, India was in control of the run-chase throughout thanks to good contributions from all its batsmen. Vijay Shankar, though, played the finisher’s role to perfection with an unbeaten 87 (80b, 12x4, 1x6) to seal the chase with six balls to spare.

India-A Captain Manish Pandey won the toss and elected to bowl first in the afternoon. New Zealand openers George Worker and Hamish Rutherford added 83 runs for the first wicket before Worker was run-out for 35 by K. Gowtham.

Rutherford combined with Corey Anderson and added 42 runs for the second wicket. Rutherford made a 66-ball 70 (9x4, 1x6) before being dismissed by Gowtham in the 24th over.

James Neesham took charge of the innings, putting on 82 runs for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper Tim Seifert, who made 59 off 53 balls (3x4, 2x6). The all-rounder provided the final flourish to the innings with an unbeaten 48-ball 79 (7x4, 2x6).

In reply, Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill took India off to a flying start. They added 61 runs for the first wicket before Mayank was dismissed by fast bowler Lockie Ferguson in the last over of the Powerplay. Gill fell two overs later to Doug Bracewell to leave India A 73 for two.

Pandey joined with Shreyas Iyer and added 85 runs in 77 balls to set India a solid platform for the second half of its innings. Pandey fell against the run of play, bowled by Hamish Bennett for 42. Iyer fell two balls to later to leave India in a spot of bother at four for 159.

However, Vijay Shankar steadied the ship in the company of wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan, adding 116 runs in 103 balls for the fifth wicket. Kishan fell for 47 but not before he had put India on course for a victory. The visitor needed only a further 34 runs when the Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batsman was dismissed. Shankar, though, got the job done by hitting a four off the last bowl of the 49th over.

The second unofficial ODI will be played on Sunday (December 8) at the same venue.