Middle order bails out India A in a low-scoring tie

In pursuit of New Zealand A's 173, India A, within six overs, was four batsmen short with 30 runs on the board. Then, the middle order batted with resilience to pull off a victory.

Abhimanyu Easwaran, in 51 deliveries, made 49 with six fours and a six. (File photo)   -  RAJEEV BHATT

India A made heavy weather of chasing New Zealand A’s 173 in the concluding one dayer at the Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA international stadium on Sunday. Useful middle and lower order partnerships bailed out the home side as it laboured to a three-wicket victory.

For the fifth wicket Abhimanyu Easwaran (49, 6x4, 1x6) and Baba Aparajith added 52 while Shardul Thakur (40, 3x4, 3x6) and Karn Sharma (38 not out, 3x4, 1x6) put on 65. Thakur struck three big sixes on the trot off Matt Henry.

The host’s response initially was anything but inspiring, four batsmen gone for 30 within less than six overs. Prashant Chopra was caught behind, while Ankeet Bawane, swatting Lockie Ferguson through square was held at point by Glenn Phillips. 

Rishabh Pant’s attempted to play Kuggeleijn away from his body and chopped the ball into the timbers. Deepak Hooda’s upper cut off Ferguson was clutched by third man Colin Munro.

Opener Easwaran seemed set for his half century ably supported by Aparajith. The latter was then rapped on the pads on a forward defensive off Todd Astle’s straighter one. Easwaran fell one short of his 50 to a splendid catch by Tom Blundell rushing in from the deep to grab the chance at backward of point. 
 
Blazing sunshine from the morning would have really tested the tourists with their predominantly black attire. They chose to bat first, a move that didn’t exactly pay rich dividends: they scored just 173. 

Sharma and Basil Thampi in their first overs proved most productive, each getting rid of a centurion from the previous games. Sharma’s flighted offering was too tempting for Glenn Phillips to resist, who stepped out but chose to defend, missed the line and Pant did the rest. After sixes over long on and square leg, Tom Bruce fell in similar fashion but to Shahbaz Nadeem.

Thampi missed a hat-trick. With his second delivery he had George Worker’s off stump uprooted, when the latter played across. Off the next, Blundell tried to clip the Kerala speedster but was rapped on the pads instead. Off Thampi’s fifth delivery, Tim Seifert flicked, but Sharma at short square leg snapped up the sharp chance.

Brief scorecard

New Zealand A 173 in 44.2 overs (George Worker 39, Henry Nicholls 42; Basil Thampi three for 19) lost to India A 174 for seven (Abhimanyu Easwaran 49, Shardul Thakur 40, Karn Sharma 38 not out; Lockie Ferguson three for 24)