Skipper Manish Pandey and Shivam Dube starred for India A as they defeated South Africa A in the third unofficial ODI of the five-match series at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday, to take an unassailable lead.

Chasing 208 for victory, Pandey played a captain’s knock to score a breezy 81. In the stay that lasted 59 balls, he hit three fours and smashed five maximums. Dube, too, shone with the bat for his pacy knock of 45, consisting of two boundaries and three over-boundaries, in 28 balls. The duo’s efforts helped India post a convincing victory in the match which was reduced to 30-overs a side contest.

Batting first South Africa A managed to put 207 on the board after losing eight wickets in their quota of 30 overs. Opener Janneman Malan and number three batsman Matthew Breetzke gave the visiting team a decent start with scores of 37 and 36 respectively. The middle-order, too, helped the team with important contributions. Wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen played a fiery innings of 21-ball 44 in the slog overs to raise the scoring rate for the Proteas and scripted an important partnership of 63 runs in just 35 deliveries with George Linde.

The Indians did not get a good start to their chase and were reduced to 26/3 in the seventh over. Coming in to bat at fifth, Pandey steadied the ship for his team and built an important partnership of 70 runs with Ishan Kishan. Nitish Rana could not prove his mettle as he failed to help his captain and got out with India still 75 runs shy of victory.

Joined by Dube in the middle with only five wickets and 60 balls remaining to reach the winning total, Pandey accelerated his innings to the fifth gear. Taking inspiration, Dube, too, started playing shots freely as both the batsmen took the attack to the touring bowlers. The target which once looked difficult was chased down by both the two in the 25th over itself with 32 balls remaining.