India ‘A’ romped to a six-wicket win over New Zealand ‘A’ in their first one-day international in Vizag today.
Robin Uthappa’s 103 and Unmukt Chand’s 94 helped the home team make short work of New Zealand’s score of 257 at the ACA VDCA Cricket Stadium.
New Zealand, electing to bat, made a strong start with opener Anton Devcich and Carl Capocha who both got out in the 40s. The highlight of the innings was Uthappa's superb double-handed catch to dismiss opener Luke Ronchi, diving full length to his left at second slip.
Daryl Mitchell top-scored with 51 while, for India, pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, leg-spinner Rahul Sharma and left-arm spinner Ashok Menaria took three wickets apiece.
From a position of strength at 135-2 in the 25th over, New Zealand collapsed to 183-7 in the 39th. Mitchell, in the company of captain Andrew Ellis (17) and Ish Sodhi (29), pulled their score past 250.
The batting conditions were good and India responded strongly. Uthappa and Chand added 178 runs for the opening wicket in 30 overs. The duo struck 11 sixes and 17 fours between them. The New Zealand bowling offered them no challenge. There were half-trackers and full-tosses aplenty as the Indian openers continued to loft sixes with ease down the ground and towards midwicket.
Unmukt, the India 'A' captain, looked set for a hundred, but he was caught at midwicket attempting his seventh six of the innings.
Uthappa had a lucky break on 93 when he was dropped at third man. But he pressed on to complete his hundred with a thundering pull for six off Adam Milne.
The remaining two games of the series will be played on September 10 and 12 at the same venue.
Brief Scores: NZ ‘A’ 257 all out (49.4 overs – D Mitchell 51, A Devcich 48, C Cachopa 45; D Kulkarni 3-38, A Menaria 3-43, R Sharma 3-45) lost to India ‘A’ 261-4 (44.1 overs – R Uthappa 103, U Chand 94, A Tare 37; A Milne 3-43) by six wickets.