IND A vs SA A: Pandey, Dube guide hosts to unassailable series lead

A scintillating knock of 81 from Manish Pandey alongside Shivam Dube’s 28-ball 45 helped India A beat South Africa A by four wickets in the third unofficial ODI on Monday. The hosts have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the 5-match series. Persistent rainfall in Thiruvananthapuram led to the match being reduced to a 30-overs-a-side affair. South Africa A managed to score 207 runs but lost eight wickets in the said overs. In response, India A batsmen chased down the steep target in the 28th over.

Klaasen builds on a shaky start

South Africa A got off to a shaky start with pacer Deepak Chahar getting rid of opener Reeza Hendricks (9) in the fifth over. Janneman Malan (37) and Matthew Breetzke (36) got decent starts but Krunal Pandya got Malan in the 11th over to break the partnership. Breetzke fell to a run-out in the 15th over and the visitors were reeling at 92-3. With Pandya attacking from one end, the hosts brought in Yuzvendra Chahal from the other to wreck the middle order.

Heinrich Klaasen, waiting in the wings for a comeback, took it upon himself to resurrect the South African innings. In 21 balls, he stormed to 44 with two fours and four sixes and helped his team get past the 200-run mark. By the time he got out to Chahar, South Africa A had already put up a challenging 207 on the board. Both Chahar and Pandya finished with two wickets each.

Kishan starts; Pandey & Dube accelerate

Chasing a tricky target of 208, India A also started on a similar note like that of their opponents. Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (1) fell cheaply, and Ricky Bhui (0) was trapped lbw on his second ball. But Ishan Kishan dug in at one end and scored a gritty 41-ball 40 that included four fours and one six. Pandya too looked in great touch, striking a couple of fours in his knock of 13. But his stay at the crease was short-lived as well, and India were suddenly tottering at 26/3 in the 7th over.

Captain Manish Pandey was in no mood to back down though. After Kishan’s dismissal, he upped the ante alongside youngster Shivam Dube. Both batsmen went on a rampage to move the pressure back on to the bowlers. Pandey, in particular, looked in sensational touch. In his 59-ball 81, he slammed three fours and five sixes. The momentum shifted when Dube also accelerated. His blazing 45 included two fours and three sixes. Pandey missed out on a century but he had already done the job for his team.