Middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav powered his way to an unbeaten 83-ball 93 as India ‘A’ recovered from early blows to cruise past Australia’s National Performance Squad by six wickets in the quadraungular 50-over tournament, in Mackay, on Saturday.
India ‘A’ are firm favourites to make it to the final with 16 points from five games.
Put into bat, NPS managed a modest 207 for eight in 50 overs with speedster Varun Aaron recording the best figures of 3/58.
The two spinners — offie Jayant Yadav (1/34) and left-arm spinner Axar Patel (1/32) — were economical in their full quota of overs as they never let the rival batsmen get quick runs in the middle overs at the Ray Mitchell Oval in Harrup Park.
India crossed the target in 38.2 overs with Jadhav adding 135-runs for the fourth wicket with Shreyas Iyer (62) to make short work of an easy target.
Sam Harper was the top-scorer with 72 off 80 balls with six boundaries while Clint Hinchcliffe contributed 43 with six boundaries.
India ‘A’ were initially in a spot of bother after being reduced to 41 for 3 by new ball bowler Tom O’Donnell (4/28).
Openers Mandeep Singh (4), Karun Nair (14) and skipper Manish Pandey (10) were out in quick succession when Shreyas joined hands.
While Jadhav hit 10 boundaries, Shreyas showed a different side to his game by dropping anchor as he held up one end rotating the strike and hitting the occasional boundary.
The highest run-scorer during India’s last domestic season allowed his senior partner to flourish as the leg-spinner Kyle Gardiner (0/37 in 5 overs) and off-spinner Sam Grimwade (0/21 in 2 overs) returned wicketless.
Jadhav used his feet against the two spinners to good effect as a number of boundaries eased out the pressure created by pacer O’Donnell, who incidentally is the son of former Australian all-rounder Simon O’Donnell.
When Shreyas was finally dismissed for a well-compiled 62 off 93 balls with four boundaries, the victory was in sight as Hardik Pandya (14 no) finishing the formalities in company of Jadhav.
Brief scores: NPS 207/8 in 50 overs (S Harper 72, C Hinchliffee 43, V Aaron 3/58) lost to India ‘A’ 208/4 in 38.2 overs (K Jadhav 93*, S Iyer 62, T O’Donnell 4/28) by 6 wickets