Chennai, Sep 27 (IANS): Riding on brilliant half-centuries from captain Sanju Samson, Tilak Varma and a four-wicket haul from Raj Bawa, India A thrashed New Zealand A by 106 runs in the third ODI to register a 3-0 clean sweep of the three-match series at MA Chidambaram Stadium, here on Tuesday.
Chasing a total of 285 for victory, Dane Cleaver fought a lone battle for Zealand A, scoring an 89-ball 83 before they were all out for 178.
Opting to bat, India A tried a new opening pair of Abhimanyu Easwaran and Rahul Tripathi. Easwaran scored a solid 39 in a 55-run opening stand before falling to Matthew Fisher. On the other hand, Tripathi couldn't score big as he got out for only 18. In the 12th over, Samson and Tilak Varma joined hands and stitched a steady 99-run partnership for the third wicket to lift the team.
However, neither Samson (54) nor Verma (50) could continue after getting to their respective fifties and with KS Bharat and Bawa joining the pair in a middle-order wobble, the hosts were in trouble.
The hosts needed to be stabilised by the lower order and it came through a small stand of 39 between Rishi Dhawan and Shardul Thakur. Dhawan fell for 34 but Thakur played an entertaining knock (33-ball 51). Thakur hit four fours and three sixes en route to his fifty as India A moved from 206 for 5 to 284 all out in the last ten overs.
In reply, New Zealand A began well as the opening pair of Dane Cleaver and Chad Bowes added 52 for the opening wicket. But Rahul Chahar's double strike, to send back Bowes and Rachin Ravindra, pulled the visitors back. Bawa then dismissed Mark Chapman to leave New Zealand A at 71/3.
Cleaver held one end up and got to a fine half-century but didn't receive much support from the other end with only Michael Ripon's 29 the next highest score to his 83. Once Cleaver got out to Rishi Dhawan, the writing was on the wall.
Bawa took three of the final four wickets to fall to complete the formalities, leading India to victory with over 11 overs left in the game.
Brief scores: India A 284 in 49.3 overs (Sanju Samson 54, Shardul Thakur 51, Tilak Varma 50; Jacob Duffy 2-45) beat New Zealand A 178 in 38.3 overs (Dane Cleaver 83; Raj Bawa 4-11, Kuldeep Yadav 2-29) by 106 runs.