Dhawan and Karthik struck quick fifties to set up the Indian score. (File Photo)
With opener Shikhar Dhawan putting in another impressive performance, India ‘A’ stunned tournament favourites Australia ‘A’ in the final to win the tri-nation one-day tournament in Pretoria, South Africa. The host team had been knocked out of the competition earlier in a run-feast against India where 827 runs were scored in a day.
The Cheteshwar Pujara-led India beat Aaron Finch’s boys by 50 runs in the lowest-scoring title clash of what was a high-scoring event. India made just 243 with Dhawan (62, 65b, 6x4) and Dinesh Karthik (73, 75b, 10x4) while Australia collapsed to 88-7 before pulling themselves to 193 with a rearguard from wicketkeeper Tim Paine and pacer Josh Hazlewood.
India had rocketed to 142-2 in the 24th over. Dhawan, fresh from a record-breaking 248 in the last match, and Karthik were striking at nearly a run-a-ball. But Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile dismissed them both, finishing with three wickets each.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma ended his bizarre streak of sixties. He had made consecutive scores of 61, 65, 64 in this tournament and 64 in the last ODI in Zimbabwe. He made 6 today, falling LBW to Hazlewood.
Suresh Raina, the senior-most member of the Indian squad, had a poor finish to his series with scores of 6, 6, and 17 having begun with 83 and 60 in the first two games. But he had a big impact with the ball today, opening the bowling, bowling 10 cheap overs and getting the wicket of Glenn Maxwell.
Ambati Rayudu and Wriddhiman Saha steadied the innings with a pair of 30s, taking India past 200 before they lost five quick wickets in the space of 15 runs to be bowled out in the final over.
India opened the bowling with Mohammed Shami and Raina and Finch took a liking to them, hitting a pair of sixes over long-on and extra-cover.
Shami hit back by removing Finch and Shaun Marsh. India’s main concern would have been getting the wicket of Maxwell early. In the two games against India in the tournament, Maxwell had hammered a total of 238 runs (145 and 93) in just 135 balls with 30 fours and nine sixes.
Having hit Ishwar Pandey for a four and a six, Maxwell tried to hit Raina out of the park only to be caught at midwicket. Australia quickly lost two more wickets. Moises Henriques tried to mount an attack against the climbing run-rate by hitting a couple of sixes in an over from Dhawan. But he became the first of the three wickets taken my left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem in one match-winning spell.
R Sharma lbw b Hazlewood 6 (6B, 1X4)
S Dhawan c Paine b Henriques 62 (65B, 9X4)
C Pujara c Finch b Maxwell 1 (8B)
D Karthik b Coulter-Nile 73 (75B, 10X4)
S Raina lbw b MR Marsh 17 (25B, 2X4)
A Rayudu b Hazlewood 34 (49B, 3X4)
W Saha c Maxwell b Henriques 31 (41B, 2X4)
P Rasool c Hazlewood b Coulter-Nile 5 (18B)
I Pandey b Coulter-Nile 1 (4B)
M Shami b Hazlewood 3 (5B)
S Nadeem not out 0 (1B)
Extras (lb-3, w-6, nb-1) 10
Total (all out; 49.2 overs) 243
FOW: 1-20 (Sharma, 2.3 overs), 2-34 (Pujara, 5.1 overs), 3-142 (Dhawan, 23.3 overs), 4-158 (Karthik, 28.1 overs), 5-166 (Raina, 31.2 overs), 6-229 (Rayudu, 44.1 overs), 7-236 (Saha, 45.4 overs), 8-238 (Pandey, 47.1 overs), 9-243 (Mohammed Shami, 48.5 overs), 10-243 (Parvez Rasool, 49.2 overs)
Bowling: J Hazlewood 10-1-31-3 (3w), G Sandhu 6-0-50-0 (1w), G Maxwell 5-1-24-1, N Coulter-Nile 9.2-1-35-3 (1w), F Ahmed 6-0-42-0 (1nb), M Henriques 10-0-47-2, M Marsh 3-0-11-1 (1w),
Australia A (TARGET: 244)
A Finch b Shami 20 (19B, 1X4, 2X6)
S Marsh c Pujara b Shami 11 (17B, 2X4)
N Maddinson c Raina b Pandey 7 (28B)
G Maxwell c Pujara b Raina 12 (7B, 1X4 1X6)
M Marsh run out 2 (8B)
M Henriques c Raina b Nadeem 20 (34B, 2X6)
T Paine b Rasool 47 (76B, 2X4)
N Coulter-Nile st Saha b Nadeem 5 (14B, 1X4)
J Hazlewood st Saha b Nadeem 30 (44B, 1X4, 1X6)
GS Sandhu not out 21 (25B, 3X4)
F Ahmed run out 9 (7B, 1X4)
Extras (lb-6, w-3) 9
Total (all out; 46.3 overs) 193
FOW: 1-30 (Finch, 4.3 overs), 2-33 (SE Marsh, 6.6 overs), 3-50 (Maxwell, 11.3 overs), 4-52 (Maddinson, 12.6 overs), 5-53 (MR Marsh, 13.6 overs), 6-76 (Henriques, 19.6 overs), 7-88 (Coulter-Nile, 23.4 overs), 8-142 (Hazlewood, 38.2 overs), 9-176 (Paine, 44.3 overs), 10-193 (Fawad Ahmed, 46.3 overs).
Bowling: M Shami 7.3-1-30-2, S Raina 10-1-33-1 (1w), I Pandey 8-1-47-1 (2w), S Nadeem 10-1-34-3, S Dhawan 1-0-13-0, P Rasool 10-1-30-1.