Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo
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IND v AUS (1)
India A 170 for 3 (Patidar 45*, Gaikwad 41, Rippon 1-28) beat New Zealand A 167 (Rippon 61, Thakur 4-32, Sen 3-30) by seven wickets
After asking the visitors to bat, Thakur - who had replaced the injured Prasidh Krishna in the squad - struck in his second over on a pitch that had pace and bounce on offer, cleaning up opener Chad Bowes for 10. Known for his outswingers and nip-backers, Thakur soon after removed Dane Cleaver with a short ball, forcing him to pull only to be caught at fine leg after a top edge.
Sen, making his debut for India A, bowled in tandem with the senior quick to trap No. 3 Joe Carter leg before wicket. That was the third wicket of a collapse which saw New Zealand A slide from 14 without loss to 74 for 8 in a span of 16 overs.
However, there was some resistance from the lower order, thanks to tailenders Michael Rippon and Joe Walker. Their 89-run partnership off 126 deliveries for the ninth wicket eventually lifted New Zealand A to 167. While Rippon top-scored with 61 from 104 balls and hit four boundaries, Walker made 36 off 49, hitting three fours and a six during a stable partnership.
But Walker was run-out in the 39th over, and it took India A less than more overs to bowl New Zealand A out, as Thakur ended with 4 for 32 - including getting Rippon out last - while Sen returned figures of 3 for 30.
A below-par score on a batting-friendly pitch was never going to pose a threat, and India A made short work of the chase.
After Prithvi Shaw perished for 17, Ruturaj Gaikwad and No. 3 Rahul Tripathi, who got 31, stitched 56 runs. Gaikwad's three fours and two clean sixes helped him accumulate 41 before he was caught-and-bowled by Rippon.
But an entertaining partnership followed between India A captain Sanju Samson and the in-form Rajat Patidar. Samson was welcomed with a rousing cheer from the 200-odd spectators as the pair put on an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 69 to chase down the target with seven wickets and more than 19 overs to spare.
Samson remained unbeaten on 29 - including hitting three sixes - while Patidar, who punished the bowlers whenever they went full, struck a quick 45 off 41 balls. His knock included seven boundaries.
The second of the three one-dayers will take place on Sunday at the same venue, with the visitors now in a must-win situation to remain alive in the series
Thakur: India are looking at me for all three formats
"I am bowling well and getting wickets again, so definitely looking forward to their call when they want my services"
Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Sen rattle New Zealand A to set up comfortable win
They shared seven wickets, as Michael Rippon and Joe Walker's 89-run ninth-wicket stand gave visitors some respectability