Ishan Kishan’s unbeaten 71 went in vain as India A were left ruing a costly single in the final over of their run-chase against New Zealand A in the series decider in Christchurch on Sunday. The hosts clinched the match by five runs.
New Zealand A won the three-match unofficial one-day series 2-1. India A had won the first match while New Zealand A ended on the winning side in the second match.
With seven runs needed off the 50th over and two wickets in hand, Kishan took a single off the second ball. That left the tail exposed to Kyle Jamieson (4/49), who dismissed Sandeep Warrier and Ishan Porel off successive deliveries to leave Kishan stranded. The match ended with two balls to spare.
In the 49th over, India A lost well-set Axar Patel (32) and Rahul Chahar (0) to left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, as New Zealand snatched the momentum when it mattered the most.
Earlier, New Zealand A rode on a superb unbeaten century from No 6 batsman Mark Chapman to recover from 105/6 to post 270/7 in 50 overs. India had reduced the host to 68/4 at one stage with dismissals at regular intervals but Chapman and Todd Astle (56) raised a 136-run partnership for the seven wicket to put up a fighting total.
In response, India got off to a good start thanks to Prithvi Shaw’s 38-ball 55. Shaw and Ruturaj Gaikwad (44) put on a confident 79-run stand for the opening wicket. Skipper Mayank Agarwal (22) got a start but could not convert it into a big knock.
After the top three, only Kishan and Axar offered resistance as Suryakumar Yadav (5) and Vijay Shankar (19) could not last long. New Zealand A’s left-arm spin duo of Ajaz Patel (3/44) and Rachit Ravindra (2/43) did considerable damage to India’s middle and lower order.
Kishan’s half century and Axar Patel’s cameo took the side close to a win. With 18 needed off 12 balls and four wickets in hand, the men in blue would have fancied their chances but they lost four wickets in the space of 10 balls to be bowled out for 265.
India A had won the opening ODI by five wickets while New Zealand rallied to win the next before clinching the series with Sunday’s victory.
The two teams will now play a two-match Test series, beginning in Christchurch from January 30.
(With PTI inputs)