India A beat South Africa A to enter final

Chennai, Aug 13 (IANS) India A rode on a brilliant display from their top order and were backed up with the leather as they beat South Africa A by 34 runs to qualify for the final of the 50-over tri-series tournament at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Thursday.

In reply to India A’s massive total of 371/3, the tourists managed 337/6 in 50 overs with left-hander Quinton de Kock top-scoring with 113 runs.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was the pick of the Indian bowlers as he bagged figures of 3/32. India A will now lock horns against Australia A in the final here on Friday.

The visitors started off well with openers Cameron Delport and de Kock notching up a quick-fire partnership of 53 runs in barely 5.2 overs. However, India clinched the break through as left-arm pacer Rush Kalaria rattled Delport’s (34) off-stump.

De Kock, however, continued the momentum along with Reeza Hendricks as both knit together a formidable partnership.

The left-handed de Kock clobbered a few towering sixes and scored a pacy century in the process.

At 181/1, South Africa seemed well on their way to overhauling the Indian total, but the hosts hit back with three quick wickets and reduced them to 184/4. The Proteas failed to recover from that setback despite a fine effort from Khaya Zondo (86).

Earlier in the day, it was skipper Unmukt Chand and Mayank Agarwal who were scintillating from the very beginning of their innings. It was steady start as both batsmen got into their groove collecting just 37 runs from the first 10 overs but those runs were decorated by some delightful boundaries.

But once the new-ball had lost its shine, Agarwal went on the offensive, clubbing anything that was in his arc.

Chand played his shots too, hitting Keshav Maharaj for two sixes and went onto score an impressive 64. The hosts then lost Chand with the score at 106/1.

Just when the South Africans thought that they would be able to stop the flow of runs, first down batsman Manish Pandey came out to bat. The aggressive stroke maker pounced upon the inexperienced bowling line-up with his trademark cover-drives and wristy flicks. At the halfway stage India A were at 125/1.

There was no stopping the duo once they got settled as the run-rate graph shot skywards. The hapless tourists kept hurling at a wrong line and length and the ball kept disappearing into the stands.

After a partnership of 203 runs, Agarwal’s swashbuckling innings of 176 finally came to an end as his catch was lapped up at long on.

Pandey continued to swing his willow and got good support from the others, remaining unbeaten at 108 off 88 deliveries.

Brief scores: India A 371/3 (Mayank Agarwal 176, Manish Pandey 108, Quinton de Kock 113, A Patel 3/32)

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