South Africa A 159 for 6 (Malan 47, Khaleel 3-45) beat India A 157 (Chahar 38, Samson 36, Paterson 5-19) by four wickets
On a cloudy day and a greenish pitch, South Africa A's pacers ran through India A, consigning them to a four-wicket defeat and knocking them out of contention for a place in the quadrangular series final. The win gave South Africa a bonus-point, but their own chance of making the final was wiped out by Australia A's victory over India B.
Dane Paterson was the destructor-in-chief as he scythed through the hosts' line-up, picking up his best bowling figures in a limited-overs game. The South Africa batsmen, in their chase, survived an equally-disciplined India bowling effort on a pitch that never looked easy to bat on.
"Funnily enough, that was a South African wicket put out today," Paterson said after the match, following his figures of 5 for 19. The new-ball duo of Paterson and Robert Frylinck found movement off the pitch, quickly drew parallels with the ones back home, and made no mistake in applying them. While keeping the scoring quiet with probing lines outside off, they accounted for the top-four batsmen within the first ten overs to leave India A reeling at 31 for 4.
At that point, Krunal Pandya joined Nitish Rana at the crease, following which India saw a brief flash of recovery. The two motored on for about six overs, rotating strike and seeing off the new-ball pair, but then Pandya edged one to the keeper, contributing just five to the overall score. While Rana pushed India's score past 50, his struggle against the short ball was exposed, and soon he lost his wicket to a Malusi Siboto bouncer after making a 45-ball 19.
The onus was on Sanju Samson to resurrect India's innings, but Deepak Chahar did his bit to hold up South A too. He batted freely even as South Africa captain Khaya Zondo set an aggressive field. While Samson at the other end played watchfully, Chahar hit three sixes and as many fours to make a 42-ball 38, ending as India's top scorer of the day.
From 76 for 6, the duo pulled India to 140 before the South Africa pacers struck again. The promising 64-run stand was ended by a sharp catch by Pieter Malan at backward point to send Chahar back, and the fielder duly received a loud appreciation from the 50-odd spectators at the stadium. Following that, Paterson and Sisanda Magala did not take much time to wrap up the innings.
For South Africa, Malan opened with Gihahn Cloete and the pair was treated to tidy bowling by Chahar, Shivam Mavi and Khaleel Ahmed. Khaleel provided the breakthrough for India, sending an edgy Cloete back, but Malan stuck around at the other end, making an 86-ball 47 before Khaleel came back to dismiss him. Paterson was sent in at No. 5 with the intention of collecting quick runs, but his brief stay at the crease was terminated by a Khaleel full toss that found its way to deep point to leave South Africa 111 for 5.
With spin pressing from both ends, South Africa's scoring slowed down in the middle. Mayank Markande and Krunal Pandya stifled the flow of runs with tight lengths - and also picked up three wickets between them in all - but India needed more runs on the board. South Africa took the relatively small chase to the 38th over but got home they did, Farhaan Behardien and Frylinck finishing the job. The bonus point they got for doing it in under 40 overs took them over Australia A in the points table, but only till the latter registered a win themselves later in the day in Alur.
Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo