Visakhapatnam: Ashok Menaria and Kedar Jadhav cracked half-centuries to enable India A inflict a 3-0 clean sweep over New Zealand A with a thrilling two-wicket victory in the third and final one-dayer, here, on Thursday.
India completed the task with four balls to spare with Mandeep Singh hitting a cameo of unbeaten 37, off just 27 balls, towards the end. He hit three boundaries and a six in the course of his important knock.
Chasing a stiff 291-run target, the Indians suffered a top-order collapse before all-rounder Menaria scored a quickfire 69 off 52 balls that included two fours and eight sixes. He was involved in a brilliant 128-run fifth wicket stand, off just 107 balls, with Jadhav (57), which denied the visitors a consolation win.
A late counter-attack by Mandeep then made sure that the hosts finished winning all of the three matches.
The series already having sealed before this match got underway, India tested their bench strength by giving a chance to spinner Jalaj Saxena and batsman Sanju Samson.
Earlier, opener Anton Devcich top-scored for New Zealand A with a 85-ball 66, studded with eight boundaries, while Corey J Anderson (59) and skipper Tom Latham (53) also hit half-centuries to contribute to the team’s total after India A asked them to bat.
The Indians were sloppy on the field, dropping two catches, including that of Anderson’s to allow the New Zealanders post an imposing total of 290 for nine.
Basant Mohanty (two for 39), Menaria (two for 45) and Jalaj (two for 60) picked up two wickets each for India A.
In reply, India lost four wickets for just 79 runs on the board in 19.2 overs, despite opener Robin Uthappa scoring a fine 50-ball 46 with the help of six fours and a six.
Skipper Unmukt Chand, who led by example in the series, scoring 94 and 59 in the first two games, failed on Thursday, getting out for just 11. Menaria walked into the middle after Uthappa and Sachin Baby (16) were dismissed in successive overs.
The left-hander fired from the word ‘go’ and accelerated the run-rate by hitting three sixes off Todd Astle’s first over before punishing him again for two consecutive sixes — one over long on and another over long off — in his very next over. (PTI)