Kolkata: India A skipper Manish Pandey played a captain’s innings once again to help his side clinch a thrilling win over South Africa A in the tri-nation ODI series on Thursday.
India bowled first and got off to a flying start as they reduced the South Africans to 20/3 at one point of time. However skipper Khaya Zondo and wicketkeeper batsman Heinrich Klaasein began South Africa’s fight back. Zondo who faced a total of 26 balls scored 23 which included a six and three fours. After Zondo’s departure, Farhaan Behardien was shown the way to the pavilion for a duck as India was slowly starting to gain a total control over the match.
Klaasein who went on to play a solid knock of 127 runs joined hands with Dwaine Pretorius (17) to stitch a 63-run partnership. But it was Willem Mulder who came into bat at number eight added a total of 111 runs with Klaasein. Mulder played gem of an innings as his 66-run knock helped the hosts post 266 on the board. Shardul Thakur was the star with the ball for India as he had four dismissals to his name at the cost of 35 runs in 8.2 overs.
The South Africans too began well on as they dismissed Shreyas Iyer (9) and Vijay Shankar (0) with just 6 overs bowled. Tabraiz Shamsi got rid of the big-hitting Rishabh Pant for just 20. Sanju Samson played a steady 68-run innings before he was dismissed by Junior Dala.
But skipper Manish Pandey once again came to the rescue as he slowly built his innings as the other batsmen around him played cameos-Deepak Hooda (13), Shardul Thakur (10), Yuzvendra Chahal (17) which slowly got India towards the total.
However when Chahal got out after a 43-run partnership with Manish Pandey, things looked to be going in the hosts favour with India at 225/7. But in came Krunal Pandya who blasted his way to 25 of just 15 balls which included three fours and a six that brought back India in the match. He shared a 35-run stand with Pandey but when he and Siddharth Kaul (0) were dismissed in quick time, it looked as if it would go down to the wire. Mohammad Siraj, the last man to come in held his nerve as he along with Pandey ensured India’s victory with 2 balls to spare.
Manish Pandey ended with an unbeaten 93 of 85 balls which was studded with five fours and one six.
This was India A’s third consecutive victory which moves them to the top of the table with Afghanistan A staring down the barrel as they have been winless so far. India had lost their first match to South Africa but has indeed made a comeback in grand fashion.
Brief scores- South Africa A- 266 all out in 48.2 overs (Heinrich Klaasein 127, Willem Mulder 66; Shardul Thakur 4/35)lost to India A- 267/9 in 49.4 overs (Manish Pandey 93*, Sanju Samson 68; Tabraiz Shamsi 3/55) by 1 wicket.