India A 289 for 6 (Easwaran 83, Shankar 61, Hooda 59, Kuggeleijn 2-37) beat New Zealand A 225 (Worker 108, Nicholls 37, Naddem 4-33, Kaul 3-25) by 64 runs
Seven wickets between Shahbaz Nadeem and Siddarth Kaul helped India A clinch the series with a 64-run win over New Zealand A, despite a century from opener George Worker. Propelled by three half-centuries, India A scored 289 for 6 and dismissed the visitors for 225 to take a 2-0 lead with one match to go in the five-match series.
Left-arm spinner Nadeem scythed through the New Zealand A line-up with returns of 4 for 33 off his 9.1, assisted by a handy three-for from Kaul, skittling the opposition inside 46 overs. A 113-ball 108 from Worker proved insufficient as lack of support from the rest of the line-up yielded a second-highest score of 37. Having lost their top three inside 15 overs for only 50 runs, the major part of the resistance came in the form of a 74-run fourth-wicket stand between captain Henry Nicholls and Worker, who added another 63 for the fifth wicket with Tom Blundell (31).
Kaul, who triggered the slide with the top-order wickets of Glenn Philips and Will Young, also took out Blundell to finish with 3 for 25 from seven overs. Nadeem, on the other hand, accounted for Nicholls in the 25th over before removing Colin de Grandhomme and Worker in consecutive overs, leaving New Zealand A on 217 for 7.
India A’s decision to bat found validation as opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, playing his first match of the tour, scored his seventh List A half-century en route to a 104-ball 83. He peppered seven fours in his knock, anchoring two 50-plus stands, with Ankit Bawne (39) and Deepak Hooda (59), for the second and fourth wickets respectively.
While Easwaran’s opening partner Prashant Chopra and captain Rishabh Pant fell cheaply, Bawne and Hooda’s contributions helped the side past the 200-run mark. Hooda hammered five fours and two sixes and found able support in No. 6 Vijay Shankar, who put on 45 runs for the sixth wicket and 55 for the seventh with a 33-ball 61. His knock featured five sixes and four fours, setting up a competitive total, as Scott Kuggeleijn (2 for 37) finished with the best figures for the visitors.