Kolkata: Top order batsman Shreyas Iyer came up with a much-needed knock as his unbeaten century India topple hosts South Africa A and clinch the tri-nation ODI series title in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Iyer played a magnificent 140* run knock and his 141-run partnership with Vijay Shankar helped India cross the line after Junior Dala sent back both the openers-Sanju Samson (12) and Karun Nair (4) with just 20 runs on the board.
But Shreyas found an able partner in Vijay Shankar who helped him anchor the run-chase with an 86-ball 72 with nine hits to the fence.
After Shankar was dismissed by Dwaine Pretorius, the Indian skipper Manish Pandey (32*), who has been in fine form throughout the tri-series came out to bat and along with Shreyas, the stylish right-hander stitched an unbeaten 109 run partnership. The run chase was aptly finished by centurion Iyer who finished off the proceedings with a four of the bowling of Aaron Phangiso.
The hosts got off to jittery start with the bat as the Indian bowlers were on song. Both Shardul Thakur (3/52) and Siddharth Kaul (2/55) bowled with a lot of fire and combined with some excellent field, the hosts lost five wickets with only 115 runs on the board. Although skipper Khaya Zondo played a 39-run innings, the main star for the South Africans with the bat was Farhaan Behardien, whose unbeaten 101 of 114 balls ensured that the hosts put up a decent total on the board.
The other substantial knock came from the bat of Dwaine Pretorius (58) which helped South Africa post 267/7 in their first innings. But at the end of the day, it was the Indians led by Manish Pandey who walked away with the tri-series victory after the batsmen held their nerve and didn’t let the game slip away, despite losing two early wickets.
Manish Pandey has had a terrific series with the bat. With scores of 93*, 86*, 41* and 55 in the group matches, Pandey’s has been extremely consistent.
After missing out on the Champions Trophy and the West Indies tour due to injury, the right-hander might just make it to India’s limited overs’ side against Sri Lanka.
South Africa A 267/7 (Farhaan Behardien 101*, Dwaine Pretorius 58 ; Shardul Thakur 3/52) lost to India A 270/3 (Shreyas Iyer 140*, Vijay Shankar 72 ; Junior Dala 2/49) by 7 wickets.