Batsmen set up comfortable win for India A
India A 309 for 5 (Dhawan 85, Rohit 65, Raina 60, Rayudu 57) beat South Africa A 258 for 5 (Elgar 84, van Jaarsveld 69, Rasool 2-47) by 18 runs (D/L)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
A day after choking from a winning position against Australia A, India A's batsmen responded with a savaging of the South Africa A attack in Pretoria, helping the team register its first win in the tri-series. South Africa were set a difficult chase of 310 in a match reduced to 38 overs by the rain and they were behind the Duckworth-Lewis target when the rains came a second time in the 35th over of the innings.
After India were put in to bat, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma added another big partnership to their nascent yet burgeoning success as an opening pair, and Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu stepped up the charge even further, as 141 runs came in the last 13 overs after a slight wobble in the middle.
Dhawan blazed away at the start, hitting four successive fours off Beuran Hendricks in the second over of the match. By the time Rohit got off the mark off his fifth delivery, Dhawan had already zoomed to 30, cover-driving and cutting powerfully. Rohit picked up pace after a slow start to make a run-a-ball 65. Dhawan's 85 came off 67 balls, and India A had reached 140 inside 20 overs, when he fell to the offspin of South Africa A captain Justin Ontong, who also dismissed Rohit soon after.
Cheteshwar Pujara could not get going on this trip to southern Africa yet again, and suddenly, India A were 168 for 3. Raina and Rayudu ensured there was no letting up on the scoring rate though, putting on 89 in just under 10 overs. Raina's 60 took only 34 balls, while Rayudu was not too far behind, making 57 off 38.
Even as the duo fell towards the end, Dinesh Karthik made sure India A would not stall as they had at the death against Australia A. He hit the fast bowler Kyle Abbott for successive sixes in the last over as India A cleared the 300-mark comfortably.
The two previous matches in Pretoria has been high-scoring ones and South Africa A's openers also set about the chase positively. Rilee Rossouw made his intentions clear when he smashed a four and a six off Mohammed Shami in the third over of the innings, helping the team to rack up 58 in the first eight overs. Pujara introduced spin at both ends from the ninth over and it was Parvez Rasool who made an immediate impact, picking up both the openers in his second over.
The wickets put South Africa A's charge on hold as Dean Elgar and Vaughn van Jaarsveld spent a few quite overs. The required rate shot above 10 an over in the 20th over, but Elgar and van Jaarsveld kept the hopes for a late push towards victory with a century stand. More than 100 were required off the last eight when van Jaarsveld finally decided to make a dash for the target, smashing Shami for two fours and a six. But he fell to Shahbaz Nadeem in the very next over.
South Africa A lost two more wickets in the next two overs, and when the rains came to end the match, they were well behind the D/L target.
Ontong rued the advent of rain, but admitted his bowlers lacked some discipline early on. "We had four more overs and needed around 50 runs. Anything is possible and on this wicket I believed we were still in with a good chance," he said. "I think we had a bad start with the bowling, too many loose balls upfront got them off to a flyer and put us on the back foot," he continued. "To chase 300 runs in 38 overs was always going to be a tough ask but Deano (Elgar) and Vaughn (van Jaarsveld) played very nicely. In the end it wasn't enough."