The cool and matured head of Ben Duckett (70 n.o.) fetched England Lions its first win of the tour as the tourist registered a one-wicket win over India A in the fifth one dayer at the Sports Hub on Thursday.
Chasing 122 for a win on a tricky surface which assisted pace and spin alike, Duckett stood tall and thwarted India-A’s attempts of a clean sweep. This was after the Chahar brothers — Deepak and Rahul — shared six wickets between them to bring the home side back in contention for an unlikely win.
Duckett wore down the bowling with a mix of orthodox and unorthodox shots and showed maturity batting with tailenders. India A medium pacers Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar made the early dents as England slipped to 43 for four, but Duckett and Steven Mullaney (8) seemed to have settled the issue with a resourceful 44-run fifth wicket stand.
Steven Mullaney’s dismissal, then, gave India A a foothold. He attempted a big hit off leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, and was bowled. Soon, the comfortable chase looked increasingly difficult as England Lions collapsed from 87 for four to 95 for eight. Rahul Chahar (three for 43) and Axar Patel (two for 22), with assistance from the pitch, prised out the English lower order.
Despite the situation, Duckett was unfazed, but his partner Mathew Carter had a brain fade when England neared victory and holed out in the deep. With No. 11 Tom Bailey in, Duckett farmed the strike and hit the winning runs with a six over long-on.
Earlier, Lewis Gregory bowled a dream first ball which swung in through K. L. Rahul’s defensive prod, and India A never recovered from the jolt. Much depended on Rishabh Pant but the wicketkeeper top-edged a pull and was caught-and-bowled by Jamie Overton, who covered sufficient ground to pocket the mishit. Siddesh Lad (36) hit a flurry of boundaries but Overton ended the threatening innings as the batsman edged behind. India A lost wickets regularly and it required a few lusty blows from Deepak Chahar (21) and Axar Patel (23) to enable the side to cross the hundred-run mark.
- India A 121 in 35 overs (Siddesh lad 36, Jamie Overton three for 24) lost to England Lions 125 for nine in 30.3 overs (Ben Duckett 70 n.o., Deepak Chahar 3 for 25, Rahul Chahar 3 for 43).