India 'A' won the tri-nations series in Nairobi, beating Sri Lanka ‘A’ by nine wickets at the Gymkhana Club Ground on Wednesday.
Chasing 166, stroke-filled half centuries by Cheteshwar Pujara (68 runs, 77 balls, 5x4) and captain Mohammad Kaif (59 in 59, 7x4) helped India reach the target in less than 26 overs.
Earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu seamer Vijaykumar Yo Mahesh took 3-26 as Sri Lanka crashed out for 165 in a 39 overs per side game. Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel grabbed six dismissals: five catches and a stumping.
A team victory: Pandit
Speaking to HT from Nairobi after the victory, India coach Chandrakant Pandit said: “The series victory showed that the team put up a good show.”
“The way the guys started the tour, beating a full national Zimbabwe side and following it with beating two other teams, Kenya and Sri Lanka A has given confidence to the players.”
Pandit never thought the 39-over-a-side final would be a lop-sided one. “Sri Lanka are one of the very good teams. The Lankans started well today (in the final) and we thought they would cross 200 at one stage. But our boys came back very well.”
Pandit pointed out to a particular spell from speedsters Yo Mahesh and Praveen Kumar after the 20th over that turned the scales in Indians’ favour.
Reflecting on the overall trip, Pandit said: “The boys executed all that we had planned against each team, and in every game.”
The former Indian wicketkeeper refused to single out any standout performer. “In fact, everyone contributed to the successful trip. The performances were shared by everyone.”
Kaif was thrilled about the series victory. He seemed to be receiving endless congratulatory messages. His phone battery ran out when HT contacted him. “It was very good,” he said before the line disconnected. India A arrive in Mumbai on Saturday.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka ‘A’ 165 in 36.2 overs (Wijekoon 38; Mahesh 3-26) lost to India 166-1 in 25.5 overs (Pujara 68, Kaif 59; Welegedera 1-33) by 9 wickets.