Ahead of New Zealand’s limited overs tour of India, it was the second string side in the form of New Zealand A who got an early taste of what was to be offered on the Indian shores. With the first ODI being washed out on Sunday, the attention was on the second game at Vizag as personnel from both camps were eager to prove their skills ahead of the main series.
By the looks of it, the second unofficial ODI was an absolute thriller as the rain-affected 42 overs a side game ended in a tie. New Zealand A batted first and put up a daunting total of 269 on board in their allotted 50 overs, thanks mainly to the brutal hitting brought to the fore by Glenn Phillips. Phillips’ knock of 140 included 15 boundaries and four colossal sixes.
For the Blackcaps, it was all about a one man show as the second highest scorer in the team stood at just 46, with Tom Bruce being that guy. For the Shreyas Iyer led India A, pacer Siddharth Kaul was the pick of the bowlers as he picked up 3 wickets in his 9 overs and conceded 65. Leg spinner Karn Sharma carried his rich vein of form, as he picked up a couple of wickets.
In pursuit of a big target, the hosts were rocketed off to a flying start as the 17 year old batting sensation Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal went about their task in style. However, India A were reduced to 84-5 and with 186 more needed in a little over 27 overs, the game seemed all but gone.
Skipper Shreyas Iyer though, led from the front and played a knock that left everyone stunned. Batting at number four, Iyer scored a breathtaking 90 as his 73 balls knock included as many as 5 sixes.
Iyer found excellent support in Maharashtra batsman Ankit Bawne, as the two put on 126 in 17.2 overs. Despite losing Iyer, Bawne kept the team in the hunt as he too soon raced to his half century. Needing 11 off the last over with just one wicket in hand, the game ended in a tie as Bawne stood unbeaten on 83 off 80 deliveries.
With his superb knock, Shreyas Iyer has made an extreme case for himself for the upcoming ODI and T20I assignments against New Zealand and Sri Lanka. He could well be the solution to India’s long-term number four woes.