Darwin: Rishi Dhawan (56 not out) and Akshar Patel (45 not out) put up a splendid rearguard action under pressure as India A clinched the Quadrangular series trophy with a narrow four-wicket win over Australia A, here, on Saturday.
Chasing 275, India A were in a spot of bother after losing their first three wickets for a mere 51 runs. Manoj Tiwary (50, 75b, 4x3) and Kedar Jadhav (78, 73b, 6x4, 2x6) held fort and took India to 133 before the Bengal batsman departed. India soon lost two more wickets to find themselves reeling at 182 for six.
However, Dhawan and Patel stitched together a match-winning unbroken 93-run stand for the seventh wicket to take India home. While Dhawan scored 56 (55b, 4x4), Patel hit 45 (38b, 4x4, 1x6) as India A chased down the target successfully with just eight balls to spare. For Australia A, paceman Ben Cutting was the most impressive, taking three wickets.
India had begun the chase on a nervous note as they lost their top three batsmen by the 11th over. Jadhav and Tiwary then helped India recover with an 82-run stand. Tiwary played fluently until he departed for a well-made 50, hooking a Cutting bouncer to long leg.
Jadhav, though, continued batting positively. He didn’t wither under pressure and remained crucial to India’s chances. However, Cutting put paid to his hopes when he dismissed him. Jadhav was caught by Hughes at short third man.
His departure tested the mettle of the all-rounders, who batted courageously.
Dhawan should consider himself lucky as he played shots in the air and the ball dropped just short of the fielders on a couple of occasions. Had the Australian fielders shown a little more agility and converted those half chances, the scenario would have changed completely.
Patel, on the other hand, mixed caution with aggression to trouble the Australian bowlers. The two kept the scoreboard ticking and found the occasional boundaries.
With an ever-increasing asking rate, though, India needed to accelerate. Patel took the initiative when he smashed leg-spinner Cameron Boyce for 15 runs in an over. Patel launched him over long-on and then slogged him to deep mid-wicket for a four.