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Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Sen rattle New Zealand A to land comfortable win

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India A 170 for 3 (Patidar 45*, Gaikwad 41, Rippon 1-28) beat New Zealand A 167 (Rippon 61, Thakur 4-32, Sen 3-30) by seven wickets

Pace bowlers Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Sen bowled out New Zealand for a paltry 167, splitting seven wickets, while India A took a comfortable seven-wicket victory in the first of three one-day games at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium on Thursday to beat the hosts 1-0 in the series.

After asking the visitors to bat, Thakur – who had replaced the injured Prasidh Krishna in the squad – struck in his second over on a speed and bounce throw, clearing opener Chad Bowes for 10. Known for his outswingers and nip-backers, Thakur removed Dane Cleaver with a short ball shortly after, forcing him to pull, but he was caught near the fine leg after a top edge.

Sen, who made his debut for India A, along with the senior quickly threw to catch the leg of No. 3 Joe Carter for the wicket. That was the third wicket of a collapse that saw New Zealand A slide from 14 without a loss to 74 for 8 in the span of 16 overs.

There was some lower order resistance, however, thanks to tailenders Michael Rippon and Joe Walker. Their 89-run partnership of 126 deliveries for the ninth wicket eventually lifted New Zealand A to 167. While Rippon was top scorer with 61 from 104 balls hitting four boundaries, Walker made 36 out of 49 hitting three fours and a six during a stable company.

But Walker was exhausted in the 39th over, and it took India A less than more overs to knock out New Zealand A, as Thakur finished 4 for 32 – including taking out Rippon last – while Sen figures 3 for 30 returned.

An underscore on a strike-friendly field would never pose a threat, and India A made short work of the chase.

After Prithvi Shaw was killed for 17, Ruturaj Gaikwad and No. 3 Rahul Tripathi, who got 31, made 56 runs. Gaikwad’s three fours and two clean sixs helped him collect 41 before being caught and bowled by Rippon.

But there followed an entertaining collaboration between India A-Captain Sanju Samson and the in-form Rajat Patidar. Samson was welcomed with a rousing cheer from the 200 spectators as the pair mounted an uninterrupted fourth wicket stand of 69 to chase the goal with seven wickets and more than 19 overs to spare.

Samson went undefeated at 29 – including hitting three sixes – while Patidar, who penalized the bowlers when they went full, hit a quick 45 from 41 balls. His knock spanned seven boundaries.

The second of the three one-day games will take place on Sunday at the same location, with the visitors now having to win in a situation that must be won to stay alive in the series.