Dhawan Double sets India-A a date with Australia-A in the final. | Sportzwiki

Dhawan Double sets India-A a date with Australia-A in the final.

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‘Impossible is a word, found in a fool’s dictionary’ said Napoleon of France in the 19th century. In 21st century, an Indian proved just that. In a stellar show of batting ability, stroke play and timing Shikhar Dhawan hit a mammoth 248 of just 150 balls to set India-A to a score of 433 in 50 overs. This score is the second highest in limited overs cricket. Shikhar missed the summit by a mere 21 runs. The match was a crunch match for its outcome decided who would play in the finals against Australia. There was tension on both sides and an eerie calm transcended on the stadium as the Indian duo of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay made their way to the crease. However as the bowler started his run-up, a tinge lit up Dhawan. He stood transfixed and no soon was the ball bowled; he hit it magnificently towards the boundary. And thus the match began. Dhawan made his intentions crystal clear from the onset. He had been dropped for the match against Australia but now he would milk the South Africans. Dhawan and Vijay started what can best be described as a perfect partnership. If one hit a four in one over, the other would hit another one in his turn. The game of equivalences finally ended when Vijay was caught by keeper Vilas in the 12th over. He had scored 40. With Vijay’s departure came skipper Cheteshwar Pujara. The scoring rate slowed down a bit temporarily. However respite for South Africa was shortlived, as Dhawan soon went on a rampage after scoring his century. He started an all-out aggression against any bowler the South African’s brought in. He soon reached his double century. In the other end, Cheteshwar Pujara was content in giving most of the strike to Dhawan. He rotated the strike regularly and punished the loose deliveries. Pujara focussed more in building a platform, since the aggression had been turned on by Dhawan. He played it sensibly and smartly. Having hit back-to-back boundaries off Theron in the 45th over, Dhawan was bowled for 248 – 21 runs short of beating Ali Brown’s record score of 268* in List A cricket. Pujara also got a brisk century, in 90 balls, helped by eight boundaries. Though Suresh Raina (6) fell in the pursuit of quick runs at the death, Dinesh Karthik collected a breezy 18 off 12 balls. India finally scored a gargantuan 433 in 50 overs. When India came out to bowl, the Indian bowlers were also meted out the same treatment. In an aggressive display of stroke play, the South African openers Reeze Hendricks and Rilee Rossouw started pelting the Indians all around the park. However a couple of wickets in quick succession brought India back into the game. Reeze Hendricks hammered a 75-ball hundred to take South Africa past 200 in the 25th over. The ball frequently disappeared to the adjacent net-ball courts as South Africa remained abreast with the required rate. The chase was following. Dhawan Double sets India-A a date with Australia-A in the final.  1Pic Courtesy:  sports24.co.za After the dismissal of Hendricks, the run-rate started to climb up. However, South Africa soon stabilised with some intelligent aggressive batting by Van Jaarsveld and Van der Merwe. The 89-run sixth-wicket stand almost took South Africa to the required target before Pandey removed the duo in a space of three deliveries to finally ensure an Indian win. Pandey took four wickets and was the pick of the bowlers for India A. Jaydev Unadkat picked up two wickets as South Africa A were all out for 394.  

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