Chasing 296, India A’s top-order failed to convert starts at Hagley Oval, Christchurch during the 2nd unofficial ODI against hosts New Zealand A on Friday, losing the match by 29 runs. The win helped the NZ A to level the three-match unofficial ODI series 1-1.
For NZ A , opener George Walker starred with the bat hitting a 135 off 144 balls to help his team post a healthy 296 for seven in 50 overs. Walker’s innings comprised 12 fours and six sixes. For India A, Krunal Pandya’s late-order heroics (51) went in vain as the visitors were restricted to 266/9.
Earlier in the day, India A won the toss and put the hosts into bat first. Mohammed Siraj struck early sending Rachin Ravindra back to the pavilion for a duck. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel then removed Glenn Phillips for 13.
NZ A slumped further when skipper Tom Bruce (17), Tom Blundell (0), Mark Chapman (10) in quick succession. The hosts were reduced to 110 for five and India A were in the driver’s seat.
However, Walker kept his end intact and found support from James Neesham (33) and Cole McConchie (56), which helped NZ A to safety. Bengal seamer Ishan Porel, with three wickets for 50 runs, was the pick of the bowlers.
India A faltered early in their reply as they lost their in-form opener Prithvi Shaw (2) in the very first over – cleaned up by right-arm pacer Kyle Jamieson.
Leading the team in the absence of Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal made 37 off 42 balls, but the middle-order of Surya Kumar Yadav (20) and Rituraj Gaikwad (17) failed to get going after getting starts.
Ishan Kishan (44 off 55 deliveries) and Vijay Shankar then got India A back on track with a 58-run stand for the fifth wicket, before Kishan was run-out. Shankar then joined hands with Pandya, but got out in the 37th over to Neesham for 41 off 53 balls, to put India A in trouble.
Patel and Rahul Chahar added 24 and 12, respectively, to support Pandya, but NZ A pipped the visitors to draw parity to the series.
Jamieson, Jacob Duffy and Neesham returned two wickets each while Ollie Newton and Ravindra added one apiece.
India A had won the series opener by five wickets. The decider would be played on Sunday.
Brief Scores: New Zealand A 296/7 in 50 overs (George Walker 135, Cole McConchie 56, Jimmy Neesham 33; Ishan Porel 3/50) beat India A 266/9 (Krunal Pandya 48, Mayank Agarwal 37; Neesham 2/24) by 29 runs