Mayank Agarwal helps India A chase down imposing SA total

New Delhi: Mayank Agarwal continued with his blazing red-hot form as India A spoilt South Africa’s opening warm-up game, comfortably beating the visitors by eight wickets in the T20 game here today.

Chasing a challenging victory target of 190, the India A team, propelled by Mayank’s 49-ball-87 and his rollicking 119-run opening wicket stand with Manan Vohra (56), reached the target with two balls to spare. If JP Duminy (68 not out), Faf du Plessis (42 retd hurt) punished the Indian bowlers, the Indian opening duo was a notch better in dealing with the Proteas attack. Especially, Mayank, who has practised a lot at the Airforce Sports Complex ground for Delhi Daredevils. His form in limited overs (List A and T20) for India A has been brilliant over the past two months and he would definitely fancy a chance of being in the 30-member probables list for World T20 next year. Mayank and Manan’s century plus stand in 12.4 overs sealed the deal as the South African new ball bowlers found it difficult to bowl in humid conditions. Mayank, who has been ona roll in shorter formats, was a revelation once again as he tore apart the South African bowling.

On a pitch that had even bounce, seamers Kylie Abbott, Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada failed to hit the right length. Both Manan and Mayank, the two IPL specialists, found it easy to deal with short of length deliveries as they cut and pulled with equal disdain. The two leg-spinners Imran Tahir and Eddie Leie didn’t find their length either and were repeatedly dispatched to the ropes. Mayank took a strong liking for Leie’s friendly leg-breaks which he had also treated with disdain during last month’s A team tri-series.

Vohra was out after scoring 56 off 42 balls with eight fours and a six — his first significant T20 innings in last one year. Mayank however continued in company of Sanju Samson (31 batting), adding 52 for the second wicket. Just when he was looking good for a century having reached 87 with 12 boundaries and two sixes, he was holed out in deep mid-wicket by David Miller off Merchant de Lange’s bowling. He had done his job by then and skipper Mandeep Singh finished the job as South Africans didn’t exactly start their tour in the manner they would have hoped.

Earlier, Duminy pulverised a listless India A bowling attack with a scintillating 68 off 32 balls as South African batsmen got some quality batting practice ahead of first T20 International in Dharamsala on October 2. Skipper Du Plessis raced his way to a 27-ball-42 while DeVilliers, opening the innings, chipped in with 36 off 27 balls. Du Plessis decided to retire and let Duminy tear apart the bowling in the death overs as the Delhi Daredevils captain hit some breathtaking half a dozen sixes including one that soared over the ground and went into the main road of the Airforce Sports Complex ground at Palam.

Rishi Dhawan (0/33 in 3 overs) and Anureet Singh (0/49 in 4 overs) were bowling in early 120 kmph and it was difficult to contain the South African batsmen with that pace. Quinton de Kock (2) and David Miller (10) missed out as they were dismissed cheaply but trio of Duminy, Du Plessis and De Villiers got batting crcuail time in the middle. The two significant partnerships were 87 for second wicket between Du Plessis and De Villiers before the former retired hurt. The second was 83 for the unbroken fourth wicket stand between Duminy and Farhaan Behardien (17 not out).

The floodgates opened in the third over when Anureet was smacked by skipper Du Plessis through mid-wicket and then the South African ODI skipper square cut him for two boundaries. De Villiers also stepped out to Yuzvendra Chahal to hit over the mid-on region. hawan’s lack of pace became apparent when De Villiers hit two successive sixes over cover and extra cover region with effortless ease.

Du Plessis lofted Chahal for a boundary in the next over as 50 was reached in no time. The runs started flowing as De Villiers went inside out to lift chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav over extra cover for a one bounce four. He repeated the stroke off left-arm spinner Pawan Negi. At the end of the 9th over, du Plessis decided to retire in order to give others some time out in the middle. De Villiers was out in the next over trying to hoick Yadav with Negi taking a skier at short fine leg, leaving South Africa at 90 for 2 in 10 overs. The India A bowlers did not fare any better in the back 10 and conceded another 99 runs.

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