File photo: Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan played excellent innings to get India A to a perfect start in the series
It is a time when auditions for Team India are happening left, right and centre and the national team hopefuls did no wrong today as India A registered a comfortable 77-run win over West Indies A in the 1st unofficial ODI at M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore.
Chasing an uphill target of 313 off just 42 overs in a curtailed match due to a late start owing to a wet outfield, West Indies batsmen failed to put up major partnerships despite many getting good starts.
31-year-old Sumit Narwal was the pick of the bowlers, claiming 2 wickets for 28 runs in 6.1 overs. The other more known names, Vinay Kumar, Rahul Sharma and Yusuf Pathan too grabbed a couple of wickets each, with Jaidev Unadkat picking up a scalp too.
Earlier, Yuvraj Singh, playing his first competitive match after a four month gap, along with Yusuf Pathan, another ex-regular hoping for a comeback, pulled India A to a daunting total. Yuvraj hit a cracking century, while Yusuf Pathan played a quintessential maverick innings which entertained the few spectators who had gathered to witness the out-of-favour stars on a cool Sunday morning.
West Indies’s pursuit of 313 got off to a quick start with Nkrumah Bonner making the best of some loose full deliveries, hitting some boundaries in the first few overs. However, bowling at his home ground, Vinay Kumar produced an excellent out-swinger which kissed the edge of Bonner’s blade and landed safely in the hands of keeper Naman Ojha.
Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards, both having experience of international cricket, kept up the chase and momentum, but as would be the story for the rest of the chase, couldn’t last long. Vinay Kumar struck again when Powell got a top edge off a shorter delivery and the catch was easily taken at mid-off.
Sumit Narwal, one of those domestic pushovers, who has seldom made regular appearances for a single side, playing for Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils and now Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL, got his first scalp of the match when he got Kirk Edwards to have a go at a full delivery outside off, which moved a touch after pitching and got the required edge, with Naman Ojha doing his job behind the wickets to make it 58/3 for the visitors.
Narsingh Deonarine and Andre Fletcher then steadied the ship a bit, as they collected 54 runs between them for the 4th wicket at 6 runs per over, keeping West Indies in the hunt. But again, when a stable partnership needed to be turned into a match-winning effort, West Indies lost another wicket.
Yusuf Pathan’s slight variation in pace induced a top edge and Fletcher was on his way back after making 29 (33).
Even as lazy batting and confusion in the middle on the pitch accounted for two more West Indian wickets, Deonarine brought up his half-century off 55 deliveries. Devon Thomas was late on a Pathan delivery which hit him plumb in front of the wicket, while Andre Russell failed to get back into the crease after a mid-pitch miscommunication and was run-out.
Deonarine’s downfall came when he hit a shorter one from leg-spinner Rahul Sharma straight into the hands of Mandeep Singh at deep mid-wicket, his 57 coming off 63 deliveries that was studded with 6 fours and a six.
Ashley Nurse 57 (50) collected some late runs with the tail and reached his half-century but only delayed the inevitable. The innings also witnessed a bizarre dismissal when Ronsford Beaton knocked his stumps after losing his balance, trying to work Jaydev Unadkat to the leg side.
The innings came to a tame end when a rare loose ball from Sumit Narwal after his first over, a wide outside off stump, was edged to the keeper by Nurse, bringing the West Indies innings to a close at a total of 235 off 39.1 overs.
This win gives India A a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series. The rest of the matches will be played at the same venue on 17th and 19th September. A lone T20 is also scheduled on Saturday, 21st September in Bangalore.
After the limited overs leg, the 3-match unofficial Test series will move to the neighbouring areas of Mysore, Shimoga and Hubli, where other Indian stars such as Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir will try to make the same impact which Yuvraj Singh made today.