3rd Unofficial ODI: Manish Pandey, Shivam Dube star in four-wicket win, India A seal series
Manish Pandey (File Photo)

Captain Manish Pandey and allrounder Shivam Dube guided India A to what turned out to be a comfortable four-wicket win in the end as they sealed their five-match series against South Africa A on Monday in a rain-affected third unofficial ODI at the Greenfield International Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.

In a contest reduced to 30 overs-per-side, India chased down 208 in 27.5 overs and thus with their third successive win, took the series with two matches remaining. Pandey scored 81 off 59 to keep his team in the hunt after they were jolted early in the chase while Dube smashed an unbeaten 28-ball 45 to ensure no late hiccups.

After handy contributions from Heinrich Klaasen (44), Janneman Malan (37) and Matthew Breetzke (36) helped South Africa A to 207/8, Anrich Nortje (2/41) and George Linde (2/41) reduced India A to 26/3 in 6.3 overs.

Ishan Kishan (40) and Pandey put the innings back on track with a 70-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Ishan departed in the 15th over and Nitish Rana (13) fell cheaply but the pair of Pandey and Dube didn’t allow any opening for the tourists. Pandey fell in the 25th over, giving South Africa A some faint hope but Dube blew them away clattering two fours and three sixes entertaining the sparse crowd that has gathered to watch the contest.

Fighting to keep the series alive, South Africa A skipper Temba Bavuma opted to bat first. Malan led a decent start as they scored 28/0 in 4.2 overs before Deepak Chahar removed Reeza Hendricks (9) giving his team an early breakthrough.

Malan and Breetzke then steered the innings forward adding 34 runs for the second wicket. They kept on stitching decent partnerships but the spinners kept them in check. They managed to offset the pressure created by the spinners by scoring boundaries off the seamers though. Several of their middle-order batsmen got the starts including Bavuma who scored 27 off 33 but it was Klaseen who really upped the ante with his aggressive approach.

He struck two fours and four sixes during his 21-ball stay that helped them to a competitive total.

Krunal Pandya (2/23) and Deepak Chahar (2/42) shared four wickets between them while Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur chipped in with a wicket each.

Brief Scores: India A 208/6 in 27.5 overs (Manish Pandey 81, Shivam Dube 45*; Anrich Nortje 2/41, George Linde 2/41) beat South Africa A 207/8 (Heinrich Klaasen 44, Janneman Malan 37, Matthew Breetzke 36; Krunal Pandya 2/23) by four wickets