Ojha takes five wickets in 44-run win
India A 198 (Yadav 50, Yusuf Pathan 40, de Silva 4-33) beat Sri Lanka A 154 (Wijekoon 46, Ojha 5-21) by 44 runs
Pragyan Ojha, the left-arm spinner, took his maiden List A five-for as India A managed a 44-run win over Sri Lanka A in the fifth match of the triangular tournament in Nairobi. A holiday crowd, mainly comprising the Indian and Sri Lankan diaspora, turned out to support the teams.
Sri Lanka, who were chasing 199 for victory, lost their way early in the chase. Dilruwan Perera was the first to go, edging Irfan Pathan to wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel. Malinda Warnapura, the Sri Lanka captain and Mahela Udawatte were trapped in front by Pankaj Singh and Praveen Kumar respectively.
Gayan Wijekoon and Kaushal Silva stabilised Sri Lanka's chase with a 53-run stand for the fourth wicket. Wijekoon got a reprieve in the 18th over, when a loud appeal for caught behind was turned down after which Irfan Pathan was seen remonstrating with umpire Subhash Modi, an incident that could bring match referee Jasmer Singh into the picture.
Wijekoon, who was the more aggressive of the two, was particularly strong hitting down the ground. But the run-rate fell when Ojha began bowling in tandem with seamer Yo Mahesh. Ojha claimed his first wicket when Silva was hit on the foot, missing a flighted ball to be adjudged leg-before for 26 and then had Thilina Kandamby caught brilliantly by Patel off the very next ball.
Kaushal Lokuarachchi mistimed a sweep shot in Ojha's fourth over and was caught by substitute Rajesh Pawar at mid-on. Wijekoon, who looked comfortable at the crease, was run out by Irfan Pathan after scoring 46 off 57 balls.
Nuwan Kulasekara and Chamara Kapugedera then added 29 in quick time for the eighth wicket as the match seemed to be heading for a close finish. Kapugedera struck Yusuf Pathan past mid-on for four, before hitting a six over long-on in the 40th over.
Irfan Pathan broke the partnership when he had Kapugedera fending a short ball to Patel. Ojha then finished off the tail, Kulasekara and Akalanka Ganegama falling in similar fashion: caught by Pawar at deep midwicket attempting to clear the boundary.
Earlier, India were dismissed for 198, the stand-out performer being left-arm medium-pacer Sujeewa de Silva, who finished with figures of 4 for 33.
Warnapura asked India to bat after winning the toss, and his decision was justified when Kulasekara removed the dangerous Kumar in the seventh over, trapping him in front for 18 . Kumar began his innings aggressively, striking three consecutive fours off Ganegama in the third over. Patel joined Kumar in the pavilion, nicking an away swinger from de Silva to wicketkeeper Silva.
Mohammad Kaif was joined by Cheteshwar Pujara, but they were not allowed to score freely by the accurate Sri Lanka pace attack. de Silva was unlucky when Silva dropped a difficult chance off Pujara. But Pujara was sent back in the next over when Ganegama got an inswinger to take the top of off stump.
Subramaniam Badrinath was dismissed for 8 by Lokuarachchi, the legspinner, when an outside edge was snapped up by Warnapura at first slip. Lokuarachchi could have had his second wicket if Warnapura had caught an edge from Arjun Yadav.
Kaif kept the runs coming, albeit at a trickle. However, he was caught by Udawatte at point when he played an uppish cut off Kulasekara after scoring 38 off 82 balls with three fours. Yusuf Pathan joined Yadav and the duo sparked a lower-order revival with a 75-run stand for the sixth wicket. Yusuf Pathan sent a Kulasekara delivery into the adjoining hockey stadium to begin the fireworks.
Yusuf Pathan was dropped by Kandamby on the long-off boundary off the unlucky Lokuarachchi, but that did not stop his aggressive intent. The ball soon had to be replaced when he slogged Wijekoon into the car park.
Yadav then joined the assault by clearing long-off and then long-on in a Lokuarachchi over. Yusuf Pathan cleared the deep midwicket boundary off Wijekoon, but was dismissed in the next over by de Silva for 40 after Kapugedera took a brilliant catch in the deep, jumping up to catch a ball destined for a six.
India failed to build on the partnership between Yusuf Pathan and Yadav, with the last five wickets falling for the addition of 14 runs.
The winner of match on Monday between Sri Lanka A and Kenya will face India A in Wednesday's final.