At the MA Chidambaram Stadium in this city on Tuesday, India A beat New Zealand A by 106 runs in the third One-Day International to complete a 3-0 clean sweep of the three-match series. This was made possible by outstanding half-centuries from captain Sanju Samson, Tilak Varma, and Raj Bawa.
Dane Cleaver fought a lone battle for Zealand A, scoring an 89-ball 83 before they were all out for 178, as they were attempting to chase down a total of 285 for victory.
Abhimanyu Easwaran and Rahul Tripathi were India A’s new opening duo when they decided to bat. A 55-run opening stand saw Easwaran score a respectable 39 runs before losing to Matthew Fisher. Tripathi, however, was unable to make a significant impact as he was dismissed for only 18. Samson and Tilak Varma teamed up in the 12th over, stitching a solid 99-run stand for the third wicket to help the squad.
However, despite reaching their individual fifties, neither Samson (54) nor Verma (50) could continue, and with KS Bharat and Bawa joining the duo in a middle-order wobble, the hosts were in trouble.
The lower order needed to stabilise the hosts, and it did so with the help of a little stand of 39 players between Rishi Dhawan and Shardul Thakur. Dhawan was out for 34, but Thakur played a fun innings (33-ball 51). As India A went from 206 for 5 to 284 all out in the final 10 overs, Thakur struck four fours and three sixes on the way to his fifty.
In their response, New Zealand A got off to a strong start thanks to the opening partnership of 52 runs between Dane Cleaver and Chad Bowes. The visitors were pushed back by Rahul Chahar’s two strikes, which sent Bowes and Rachin Ravindra back. Mark Chapman was then fired by Bawa, leaving New Zealand A at 71/3.
Cleaver managed to hold up one end and reach a beautiful half-century, but he didn’t have much help from the other end, with Michael Ripon’s 29 being the only score higher than his 83. Once Cleaver arrived at Rishi Dhawan, it was clear what would happen.
With more than 11 over remaining in the match, Bawa got three of the final four wickets to fall to complete the formalities.
Brief scores: India A 284 in 49.3 overs (Sanju Samson 54, Shardul Thakur 51, Tilak Varma 50; Jacob Duffy 2-45) beat New Zealand A 178 in 38.3 overs (Dane Cleaver 83; Raj Bawa 4-11, Kuldeep Yadav 2-29) by 106 runs.
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