New Zealand A vs India A, 1st Unofficial One-Day, Review: Vijay Shankar helps the visitors take early honours in the series

The bowlers disappointed though in the first innings.

Vijay Shankar of India A. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

After the rain-marred three-match unofficial Test series, India A and New Zealand A locked horns in the first One-Day at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on Friday. It turned out to be a thriller in the end, as the tourists famously gunned down 309 runs with only six balls to spare thanks to Vijay Shankar‘s match-winning knock of 87 runs off just 80 balls. He was well supported by the other batsmen from the other end but things went down to the wire eventually and Shankar kept his nerves.

After conceding 308 runs, India A started their chase at a brisk pace with Mayank Agarwal and Shubman Gill adding 61 runs in less than 10 overs. But Lockie Ferguson’s express sent the former’s stumps were sent cartwheeling while Doug Bracewell sent back the other opener to make it 73/2 in the 13th over. The two experienced players at this level, Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer then rebuilt the innings and just when the duo was dominating the proceedings, Hamish Benett struck in quick successions to bring his team back in the match.

At 159/4 in the 26th over, the scales were tilted in favour of New Zealand A as the required run-rate was still above six in a steep chase.

Shankar’s blitzkrieg propels India

But then Vijay Shankar had other ideas. He took Ishan Kishan with him and stitched the game-changing partnership of 113 runs. The latter scored 47 runs in quick time even as Shankar made it look extremely easy at the other end. But Kishan’s wicket in the 43rd over with 36 runs still to get made things interesting even as Krunal Pandya took 17 balls to score just nine runs.

But the Indian all-rounder kept his nerves to seal a memorable victory for the Men in Blue’s A side in the first of the three-match One-Day series.

Neesham punishes poor Indian bowling

Earlier in the day, after losing the toss, Hamish Rutherford and Jimmy Neesham batted superbly to propel the team to 308 runs after 50 overs. The latter played a special knock of 79 off just 48 balls to punish the poor death bowling form India A. Siddarth Kaul had an off day in the field conceding 74 runs in 10 overs while the other bowlers also couldn’t stop the run-flow on the flat pitch. But in the end, the batsmen did well to gun down the total with one over to spare.

Brief Scores

New Zealand A 308/6 after 50 overs (J Neesham 79*, H Rutherford 70; S Kaul 2/74)

India A 311/6 after 49 overs (V Shankar 87*, S Iyer 54; H Benett 2/65)

Result: India A won by four wickets

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