New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) Opening batsman Mayank Agarwal blazed his way to a 49-ball 87 run knock to help India A beat the touring South Africans by eight wickets in a T20 practice match here on Tuesday.
It was the opening warm-up game for the visitors who are scheduled to play three Twenty20 matches followed by five One-Day Internationals (ODI) and four Test matches, starting in October.
Set a challenging target of 190, the India A team, propelled by Mayank and his 119-run opening wicket stand with partner Manan Vohra (56), reached the target with two balls to spare.
The South Africans earlier won the toss and chose to bat.
Mayank was in sizzling form, smashing 12 hits to the fence and two sixes during his stay in the middle. He had an able partner in Manan, who hit eight boundaries and a six during his 42-ball essay.
On a grassy pitch that offered plenty of bounce, the South African pacers were unable to trouble the India A batsmen.
The experienced Imran Tahir and fellow leg-spinner Eddie Leie also had an off-day and leaked boundaries at regular intervals.
After Vohra was dismissed by JP Duminy, Agarwal and Sanju Samson continued to torment the Proteas.
Sanju scored an unbeaten 31 off 22 balls as the duo scored 52 runs between them in just 28 delveries.
By the time Agarwal had holed out to deep midwicket while trying to go after pacer Marchant de Lange, India A were in a commanding position, needing 19 runs off 16 balls.
Mandeep Singh (12) joined Sanju in the middle as the Indians cantered home with ease.
Earlier, the South Africans posted a challenging total of 189/3 in their allotted 20 overs. J.P. Duminy led the Proteas’ charge with a quickfire unbeaten innings of 68 runs.
Duminy’s 32-ball stay at the crease was studded with two hits to the fence and half a dozen sixes.
The visitors were off to a shaky start when Quinton de Kock was run out in the very first over. But AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis put together a partnership of 84 runs off 50 deliveries to bring the innings back on track.
Du Plessis smashed a 27-ball-42 before deciding to retire. Although de Villiers was sent back by Kuldeep Yadav after scoring 37 runs off 27 deliveries, it hardly made a dent in the South African run rate.
Duminy easily dealt with the listless India A bowling as the visitors ammassed a sizeable total.