A century from Unmukt Chand, followed by a three-wicket haul by Dhawal Kulkarni helped India A to a 16-run victory against West Indians in Mumbai yesterday.
The visitors, though, had plenty of positives despite the defeat, as Denesh Ramdin (102), Darren Sammy (50) and Jason Holder (54) all produced fighting knocks down the order, after their pacers had done well to restrict India A.
Before the game, West Indians had struggled to field 11 fit players; Sunil Narine had flown back to West Indies, Lendl Simmons had hurt his back during the previous warm-up game, and Darren Bravo was down with an upset stomach. Coach Stuart Williams was included in the team and the former West Indies opener displayed his impressive fitness levels by fielding for more than half of India A’s innings. He also faced two balls but failed to connect with either.
Unmukt and Karun Nair were threatening to take the game away from a four-pronged West Indians pace attack. While Nair was timing virtually every aggressive shot he went for, Unmukt recovered from a sluggish start to punish anything that was pitched short. Once Nair was dismissed to end a 149-run stand, West Indians began to claw their way back. With Nair gone, Unmukt was shaky in his nineties. The captain Manoj Tiwary perished early, and with Sanju Samson also struggling to find his touch, Unmukt suddenly lost his timing.
Dropped on 94, Unmukt eventually raised a scratchy, yet deserving, hundred, but Jerome Taylor cleaned him up soon after with a perfect yorker. That wicket triggered a collapse, as India A fell from 184 for 2 to 282 all out.
West Indians’ chase began just as poorly as it had in the previous game. With Kulkarni and Jasprit Bumrah both striking early, West Indians soon slumped to 65 for 4 including the loss of Leon Johnson (7) and Marlon Samuels (24) and were facing another massive defeat.
However, Ramdin, who had claimed five catches earlier, counter-attacked and along with Sammy, added 101 before Sammy mistimed a pull off Kulkarni soon after scoring a half-century and was caught behind. Ramdin pushed on. With 93 required off the last 10 overs Ramdin went after Karn Shamra, plundering him for 17 off one over.
Ramdin eventually collected his third List-A hundred – a run-a-ball 102 – but his dismissal off Nair pegged the team back. Holder was in good touch, driving Parvez Rasool and Nair for assured boundaries, but with 42 needed off 24, he was left with too much to do in the end.
With 23 needed off six balls, Holder began the final over with a six, but two wickets in the next three balls meant that West Indians fell 17 short.
West Indies should be in a much healthier position by the time the ODIs begin in Kochi. Sulieman Benn is expected to join the squad by Wednesday, as are Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith and Andre Russell, who all played in the Champions League Twenty20 final in Bangalore.
Scores: India ‘A’ 282 (Unmukt 101, Nair 64, Taylor 3-51) beat West Indians 266 for 9 (Ramdin 102, Holder 54, Kulkarni 3-39) by 16 runs.
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