Opener Shikhar Dhawan was back amongst the runs with a brisk 52 off 43 balls but it wasn’t enough to get India A over the line against South Africa A in a rain-hit unofficial fourth ODI, ending the visitors’ losing streak on Thursday.
South Africa A pacemen Anrich Nortje and Marco Jansenshared three wickets each, triggering a middle-order collapse to help the team win the game by four runs via Duckworth-Lewis method.
The game, which was extended to a reserve day, resumed on Thursday afternoon after another delay to due to rain and wet outfield with India requiring 137 more runs in 17.2 overs to secure a fourth successive win, having already sealed the series.
One big positive from the game was Dhawan being back among the runs ahead of the T20 series against South Africa beginning on September 15. The southpaw endured a dry run in the West Indies with scores of 36, 2, 3, 23, 1 in the limited overs leg of the tour.
India A were on course for victory when skipper Shreyas Iyer (26) and his Mumbai teammate Shivam Dube (31) were in the middle.
However, their dismissal in the space of two balls by the pacy Nortje (3/36), began the India A slide as the host slipped to 178 for 9.
Dube, who carted three big sixes, was well caught by substitute Khaya Zondo in the deep off Nortje’s bowling. Two balls later, the captain fell to a catch in the deep.
Local star Sanju Samson, from whom a lot was expected, fell to a superb catch by the ‘keeper Sinethemba Qeshile off rookie Lutho Sipamla for 1.
Nitish Rana and MS Washington Sundar fell while going for big shots and it was left to Rahul Chahar to try and pull off a win in the company of No.11 Ishan Porel.
He tried his best, hitting a six and a four, but couldn’t take the team past the line as Beuran Hendricks didn’t allow him to score off the final delivery.
Earlier, Dhawan and Prashant Chopra (26) began confidently with the former reaching his half-century in style.
After Dhawan’s fall at 110 in the 15th over, Shreyas Iyer and Dube joined forces and kept the scoreboard ticking with a mix of cautious play and big shots.
However, the exit of Iyer and Dube turned things around for South Africa ‘A’, who went on to clinch a consolation win.