VISAKHAPATNAM: Lusty hitting by India A’s lower middle order enabled them to complete a clean sweep of the ODI series against New Zealand A, as they defeated the visitors by two wickets in a last-over thriller at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here, on Thursday.
India opted to field and were set a challenging target of 291, thanks to half-centuries by opener Anton Devcich (66), Corey Anderson (59) and Tom Latham (53).
India’s early response was far from flattering. They plummeted to 79/4 as skipper Unmukt Chand (11), Robin Uthappa (46), Sanju Samson (5) and Sachin Baby (16) departed within the first 20 overs.
Menaria's all-round role
Then began a revival of sorts, with Ashok Menaria (69) and Kedhar Jadhav (57) adding 128 in 17.5 overs. Rajasthan’s 22-year-old Menaria was particularly effective as he thrashed eight sixes and two fours in his 50-ball knock.
Menaria also took ten wickets in the three-match series.
Jadhav was rather more watchful on Thursday, but India, after being brought back into contention, suffered a double whammy when both set batsmen were out on the same score – Jadhav horribly run-out, Menaria perishing to a top edge.
India needed 84 in just under 13 overs, four wickets remaining, when lanky Punjab batsman Mandeep Singh shoved his team over the line with a timely cameo.
Mandeep smashed an unbeaten 37 off just 27 deliveries, including three boundaries and a six, and ensured victory through vital partnerships with the tailenders, Jalaj Saxena (19) and Rahul Sharma (20).
India won with four balls to spare, thus completing a 3-0 rout of New Zealand.
Brief Scores: New Zealand 'A' 290/9 in 50 overs (Devcich 66, Anderson 59, Latham 53, Menaria 2/45, Saxena 2/60) lost to India 'A' 291/8 in 49.2 overs (Menaria 69, Jadhav 57, Uthappa 46, Mandeep 37*, Gillespie 3/43, Bracewell 1/37).