Rishabh Pant starred with the bat and Deepak Chahar celebrated his maiden India call-up with three wickets as India ‘A’ beat England Lions by five wickets in the final of the A-team Tri-Series at the Kia Oval on Monday. Pant made an unbeaten 64 from 62 balls as India ‘A’ reached a target of 265 with 10 balls to spare.
Warwickshire’s Sam Hain hit the only century of the match, his third in eight List ‘A’ innings for the Lions, and Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone made 83 from 82 balls in a third-wicket stand of 152 after the Lions had been put in to bat. But they lost momentum in the later stages of the innings against some skilful bowling by Indian seam trio Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed and Shardul Thakur.
Despite tight bowling performances from Liam Dawson and captain Steven Mullaney, India ‘A’ always had the chase under control with useful contributions from Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari and Shreyas Iyar before Pant guided them home in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 71 with Krunal Pandya, who hit the winning boundary.
India’s seamers had made early inroads after Shreyas Iyer won the toss and chose to bowl on a hot morning. Chahar, who will now join India’s squad for the Vitality IT20 series, had Tom Kohler-Cadmore miscuing a pull, then Axar Patel took an excellent catch at backward point to dismiss Nick Gubbins in Khaleel’s first over.
But the Lions recovered impressively from 33 for two, as Livingstone joined Hain to add 152 for the third wicket. Hain was the first to 50, from 68 balls, but Livingstone overtook him and hit a total of five sixes – including two in consecutive balls off Chahar.
It was another fine catch from Patel that finally broke their stand, this time at deep mid-wicket to dismiss Livingstone for 83 from 82 balls off the bowling of Pandya, the all-rounder who has also received a late call to join the senior T20 squad this week.
The Lions lost their way badly after that, with only Mullaney of the remaining seven batsmen making it to double figures as they lost six wickets for 48.
Shaw and Agarwal then provided a bright start to the reply with a stand of 39 inside seven overs, until Shaw steered Matthew Fisher’s first ball to Gubbins at backward point.
Dawson, who had already claimed three four-wicket hauls in his previous four appearances in the tournament, then threatened another match-turning performance when he dismissed Shubman Gill and Agarwal in consecutive overs, to leave the Indians wobbling slightly on 83 for three.
But Vihari joined Iyer in a sensible fourth-wicket stand of 68. Iyer was dismissed by his opposing captain Mullaney for 44 courtesy of a sharp leg-side catch by Foakes and Vihari was run out by a sharp piece of work by Hain – leaving the left-handers Pant and Pandya to do the rest.
Brief Scores: England Lions: 264/9 (Hain 108; Chahar 3/58, Khaleel 3/48); India ‘A’: 267/5 (Pant 64*)
(With inputs from ECB Website)