With the help of a brilliant half century from Gurkeerat Singh and a steady knock of 24 from Sanju Samson, India A beat Australia A by four wickets in the final of the 50-over tri-series tournament at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday.
Singh top scored for the Indians with an unbeaten knock of 87 as the Indians overhauled the 230-run target with 39 balls to spare. He hit seven boundaries and two sixes during his 85-ball stay at the wicket. Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar bagged two wickets for 39 runs to register the best bowling figures for the tourists.
Chasing Australia A's total of 226/9, the Indian opening pair of captain Unmukt Chand and Mayank Agarwal carried on their momentum from Thursday's match against South Africa A as they got the innings off to a solid start. However, neither could build a long innings as the Australians got rid of the duo in quick succession to reduce the hosts to 64/2.
The Indian middle-order wobbled a bit as Karun Nair and Manish Pandey - who scored a century in the last game - followed the opening pair into the dugout soon after. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel contributed just 16 runs before being dismissed by Gurinder Sandhu to leave the Indians reeling at 142/6.
But it was the duo of Samson and Singh who ensured the home side did not suffer any more hiccups as they reached the target with ease.
Earlier in the day, the Australian top order fired once again as skipper Usman Khawaja and Joe Burns put on a quick partnership of 82 runs. Burns departed soon after, but the other top order batsmen came good with the willow as the team reached 130/1 at the end of 25 overs.
The visitors looked set to pile on a massive total, but the Indian bowlers came back to grab four quick wickets as the Australian middle-order batsmen failed to capitalise on the good start.
The visitors were unable to knit together another big partnership as the bowlers kept pegging them back, which included the wickets of the well-settled Khawaja (76) and the dangerous looking Callum Ferguson (21), who chipped a delivery from Singh straight down the throat of the mid-wicket fielder.
A few big hits in the last few overs from the unbeaten Adam Zampa (15 not out) and James Pattinson (11) ensured a challenging total on a two-paced wicket that was providing turn and movement to the bowlers.