Bowlers Karn Sharma and Shardul Thakur used the long handle to good effect as India A beat New Zealand A by three wickets in the final unofficial ‘One Dayer’ to clinch the five-match series 3-0 on Sunday. Chasing a paltry target of 174, India A were 90 for six at one stage before Shardul (40 off 32 balls) and then Karn (38 off 49 balls) guided the team to victory in just over 32 overs. Shardul, in fact, celebrated his India call-up by getting one for 19 in 4 overs during the New Zealand A innings that folded for 173 in 44.2 overs.
India A captain Rishabh Pant used as many as seven bowlers, with Basil Thampi returning figures of three for 19 in six overs.
What should have been an easy chase turned out to be a difficult one as Abhimanyu Easwaran (49 off 51 balls) looked the only batsman comfortable at the top of the order.
His innings had six boundaries and a six but the season’s first triple centurion, Prashant Chopra (0), had another horrible outing after scoring only 13 in his first match in India A colours.
Skipper Pant, who is in the midst of a bad patch, did not help his cause either after being cleaned up by pacer Scott Kuggeleijn for 1. He had scored 2 in his previous match.
At 90 for six, it was Karn and Shardul, who steadied the ship with a 43-run stand in 10 plus overs before the Mumbai speedster was dismissed.
At 133 for seven, India A needed another 41 runs with only three wickets remaining.
Karn anchored the innings in the company of Shahbaz Nadeem (7 no) to take the hosts past the finishing line.
New Zealand A 173 in 44.2 overs (George Worker 39, Henry Nicholls 42, Basil Thampi 3/19, Mohammed Siraj 2/27, Shahbaz Nadeem 2/34)
India A 174/7 (Abhimanyu Easwaran 49, Shardul Thakur 40, Karn Sharma 38 not out).