India September 10; Ashok Menaria’s all-round efforts took India A to a series win against New Zealand A in the three-match one-day series. His first five-wicket haul in List A cricket preceded an unbeaten cameo to set up a six-wicket win in 38.5 overs in Vizag.
After New Zealand were asked to bat, opener Anton Devcich, fresh off a century in the second four-day game, could not cope with the early movement on offer. His extravagant slash outside off left New Zealand one down in the second over. Dhawal Kulkarni landed another blow when he had a fluent Luke Ronchi playing around his pad. Ronchi’s efforts to retain a spot in the senior squad looked promising, but his 32-ball 34, including five fours and one six, became an example of a start that was wasted.
Menaria had a hand to play in the next six wickets to fall, capitalising on a gross misunderstanding between Carl Cachopa and Tom Latham to have the latter run out. Sandeep Sharma’s acrobatics at mid-off limited Colin Munro’s stint at the crease to single figures and gave Menaria his first wicket, reducing the visitors to 90 for 4. But Cachopa dug in for New Zealand, much to the chagrin of Sachin Baby, who had spilled a chance at cover. Cachopa struck two crisp fours in the very next over and shepherded the innings with a solid knock of 80.
New Zealand approached the last ten overs with Cachopa still in the middle but he slammed a long hop from Menaria straight into the hands of deep midwicket. Andrew Ellis, with whom Cachopa had the only fifty partnership of the innings, fell short in his efforts to clear the field in the 44th – Menaria’s final over. Three balls later, an advancing Scott Kuggeleijn was stumped and New Zealand were bowled out for 216, four overs later.
India got off to a wobbly start, as Robin Uthappa outside edged the second delivery of the innings, but a diving Latham could not hold on. He profited briefly, smashing Mark Gillespie for 10 runs in the third over, before his drive into the covers was safely pouched.
Unmukt Chand looked solid, taking Adam Milne for consecutive boundaries two overs after the wicket but his partner Aditya Tare underestimated Mark Gillespie’s bounce and edged to the keeper. An 89-run partnership between new man Mandeep Singh and Chand restored India’s advantage, as they slammed 22 runs in seven balls between the 11th and 12th overs. Both batsmen recorded half-centuries but could not add much more. Menaria arrived at the fall of Mandeep’s wicket and his 30-ball 37 ensured a victory with over 11 overs to spare.
India A 217 for 4 (Chand 59, Mandeep 59) beat New Zealand A 216 (Cachopa 80, Menaria 5-38) by six wickets