India A’s spinners, led by Yuzvendra Chahal, took eight wickets between them to lead the side’s 57-run win over Australia A in the final of the Quadrangular A-team one-day series in Mackay.
Chasing 267, Australia A lost all but two of their set batsmen to spinners, eventually folding for 209. Earlier, Mandeep Singh’s 95 and Manish Pandey’s 61 had guided India to 4 for 266. This is also India A’s third successive win over Australia A in the final of an A-team tournament, with the previous wins coming in July 2014 and August 2015.
Australia A began their chase promisingly with a 31-run partnership between openers Cameron Bancroft and Kurtis Patterson before the latter was bowled by Dhawal Kulkarni in the seventh over. A 51-run partnership for the second wicket between Bancroft and Nic Maddinson further strengthened Australia A’s chase but India A fought back through wickets from Karun Nair, whose part-time offspin accounted for both batsmen.
Despite a few quiet overs in the middle, Australia A captain Peter Handscomb and Alex Ross kept the asking rate in sight during their brisk 77-run stand, until Kulkarni got the breakthrough with Ross’ wicket.
Chahal and Axar Patel wrapped things up quickly after that. Axar’s left-arm spin dismissed Handscomb for a top-score of 43 in the 39th over, and Chahal took four of the next five wickets to seal a win by the 45th over. Australia A’s last six wickets fell for only 26 runs.
India A had a quiet start after losing Nair in the second over but recovered through a string of half-century partnerships. Mandeep was part of two of those partnerships, with Shreyas Iyer (41) and Pandey, during his 108-ball stay. The opener struck 11 fours in his second successive fifty before he was out caught behind off Joe Mennie, five short of what would have been his fourth List A century.
India A scored only five boundaries in the last 15 overs but still scored 100 runs, steered along by Pandey with help from Kedar Jadhav who chipped in with 25 off 33. Pandey, the India A captain, who has been in good form through the tournament, surpassed David Miller on the series run charts with his 61, ending with a tally of 359 runs in seven innings, including two centuries.
The lack of boundaries, Mandeep said after the game, was largely due to the slow outfield. The resulting difficulty in run-scoring, he said, made his knock of 95 one of his best so far. “More than the wicket, I think it was the ground. I knew that I had to run hard on this ground, take a lot of twos and threes. I think I probably did that, that’s why I got success,” he said. “Definitely it was very hard, because in India you get a lot of boundaries, so definitely it was one of my harder innings, but I enjoyed it.”