India A snatch win in rain-marred game
India A recorded their first victory on their tour to South Africa, beating South Africa A by 18 runs in a rain-affected encounter at Pretoria on Friday.
After a delayed start due to rain that led to the loss of 12 overs, South Africa won the toss and opted to field in a 38-over game. Shikhar Dhawan (85) and Rohit Sharma (65) opened the Indian innings with a bang, putting up a huge 140-run 1st wicket partnership, as the bowlers looked on haplessly. Dhawan, who blasted 10 fours and 3 sixes in just 67 balls, was the first wicket to fall off Justin Ontong’s bowling. Sharma, who was looking in good touch with his second successive fifty that involved 5 fours and 2 sixes, followed his partner in the dressing room soon after. Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara (4) was once again dismissed in single figures immediately after Sharma departed. However, Suresh Raina (60) and Ambati Rayudu (57) smashed the South toyed with the South African bowlers, bringing India closer to a challenging 300-plus total. In the end, Dinesh Karthik (18*) and Stuart Binny (4*) together took India to 309 runs in the allotted 38 overs. Justing Ontong (2/27) and Hardus Viljoen (2/65) finished with two wickets each.
South Africa A began the chase quite confidently, building a 78-run 1st wicket stand, following which Parvez Rasool, who played his first match on tour, picked his 1st scalp as Reeza Hendricks (30) was clean bowled. The other opener, Rilee Rossouw (47), departed in quick succession, giving Rasool (2/47) his 2nd wicket of the match. Dean Elgar (84) played a supreme innings to keep his team’s hopes alive and was ably supported by Vaughn van Jaarsveld (69). At one stage, South Africa A looked on course for a well-deserved victory. However, both batsmen were dismissed by Shahbaz Nadeem (2/49) and the hosts were in trouble with a mountain of runs yet to be chased inside 38 overs. To add to the misery, bad light interfered and the play was stopped in the 35th over. According to the D/L method, he revised target in 34.4 overs was 277 and South Africa were 258/5 at that point of time, falling short by 19 runs.
It was a must win game for India A, as they needed those 4 points to stay in the competition. They take on Australia A in another important game at Pretoria on August 11.