INDIA A TOUR OF WEST INDIES
Iyer led from the front with a gutsy half-century © Getty
India A began their Caribbean tour with a convincing 65-run victory after successfully defending a sub-par 190 in Antigua in the first of the five unofficial one-day games against the hosts, on Thursday (July 11).
Opting to bat first proved fatal as the visitors were reduced to 22 for 3 inside eight overs with Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill and skipper Manish Pandey all back in the hut. Shreyas Iyer and Hanuma Vihari then put their heads down and stitched a game-changing partnership worth 95. The duo fell 31 balls apart, Vihari missing his half-century first and then Iyer falling 23 short of a hundred, but put India on course for a respectable total.
Handy contributions from Ishan Kishan (16) and all-rounders, Axar Patel (17) and Washington Sundar (10), meant India made 190 before folding in the penultimate over of their innings. Roston Chase was the pick of the bowlers with figure of 4 for 19 from his 6.5 overs while Akeem Jordan picked up two of his three wickets at the top to trigger a collapse at the start.
India bowled certainly better than they batted and at the heart of this effort was Khaleel Ahmed, who ripped open West Indies A’s line-up with three wickets in his opening spell to leave the hosts reeling on 40 for 4.
Jonathan Carter (41 not out) and Rovman Powell (41) then offered some resistance, putting on 60 runs for the fifth wicket, but that was the only highlight of their batting innings. Once Powell was prised out by Rahul Chahar, the lower order caved in. Barring Khary Pierre (12) and the aforementioned pair, none of the batsmen could reach double figures as West Indies were bundled out for only 125 in reply, on the penultimate ball of the 36th over.
Chahar, Axar and Washington all contributed with two wickets apiece but Iyer ultimately bagged the Man of the Man award for his gritty half-century that gave Indian bowlers a decent total to play with.
The second one-dayer of the five-match series will be played out at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua on Sunday (July 14).
Brief scores: India A190 in 48.5 overs (Shreyas Iyer 77, Hanuma Vihari 34; Roston Chase 4-19, Akeem Jordan 3-43) beat West Indies A 125 in 35.5 overs (Jonathan Carter 41*, Rovman Powell 41; Khaleel Ahmed 3-16) by 65 runs.