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Rediff.com  » Cricket » In-form Pant dazzles as Rahane-led India 'A' thrash England

In-form Pant dazzles as Rahane-led India 'A' thrash England

Last updated on: January 12, 2017 20:45 IST

Rishabh Pant continued his brilliant run of form, striking a quick-fire 59 and helped India to a easy 6-wicket win over England XI

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant continued his brilliant run of form, striking a quick-fire 59 and helped India to a easy 6-wicket win over England XI. Photograph: Pal Pillai/Getty Images for Nissan

Rishabh Pant sizzled in his first ever match for India ‘A’ and smashed 59 off only 36 balls to overshadow captain Ajinkya Rahane's compact 91 as a new-look India ‘A’ cruised to a six-wicket victory over England in the second warm-up game, in Mumbai on Thursday.

Chasing a target of 283, India ‘A’ knocked off the runs in 39.4 overs.

Sheldon Jackson, who hit 59 off 56 balls, added 119 runs for the opening stand with Rahane.

Senior pro Suresh Raina did the finisher's job with a 45 off 34 balls.

However it was Pant, whose performance was awaited and he didn't disappoint the CCI crowd as he hit eight fours and two huge sixes.

Such was his dominance that his contribution was 59 off the 78 runs scored in only 8.4 overs -- added for the second wicket with Rahane.

Rahane also showed no signs of rust as he hit 10 fours and a six in his 83-ball innings.

Deepak Hooda (23) and Ishan Kishan(5) were at the crease when India A reached their target.

Earlier, opting to bat first, the England innings was nurtured in the main by half centuries from opener Alex Hales (51) and Jonny Bairstow (64) before it got into the mire against the home side's spin attack. They were finally revived by the last wicket pair of Adil Rashid and David Willey who put on 71 runs.

India 'A' captain Ajinkya Rahane struck a composed 91

IMAGE: India A batsman Ajinkya Rahane plays a shot en route his 91-run innings against England XI at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI

Strangely Pant, who is a regular opener for Delhi in ODIs, T20s and in the Indian Premier League, was demoted to No 3 but it did not dampen his spirits.

The left-handed Pant, who slammed pacer Jake Ball for two fours and a short-arm pulled six in three successive balls, raced to his half century in just 32 balls before impetuosity cost him his wicket.

In trying to cart leggie Adil Rashid, who he had hoisted over long on for his second six off his previous delivery, the Delhi lad was caught at the same position after adding 78 runs in 8.4 overs overs for the 2nd wicket with Rahane who, watched the youngster blast his way from the other end.

These first two partnerships that came above the asking rate and pushed the total very close to the 200 mark were enough to put the home team in sight of overhauling their rivals' score.

After Rahane's dismissal when he played on in trying to clip Willey, Raina and Deepak Hooda took the total past the 260-mark when the left-hander was caught in the deep off Ball.

Earlier, choosing to bat first on winning the toss, England sailed along merrily and were 116 for one when they started losing wickets in a bunch.

England XI's Jonny Bairstow plays a shot against India 'A'

IMAGE: England XI's Jonny Bairstow plays a shot against India 'A'. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI

They were out-foxed by the home team spinners and were left struggling at 165 for six, three overs past the halfway mark of their allotted quota.

Openers Jason Roy (25) and Alex Hales (51) got the visitors off to another good start of 42 and then the latter and one-down batsman Jonny Bairstow (64) took the score past the 100-mark before the slump began.

In 12 overs, England squandered five wickets – including that of captain Eoin Morgan for a duck, his second successive flop in two games.

Only Ben Stokes stood solid among the middle order in making 38 and along with Chris Woakes (16) he took the score close to 200.

England then experienced another slide and lost three more wickets before the 40th over with only 211 on the board.

The last wicket partnership of 71 in just under ten overs between Adil Rashid (39) and left handed David Willey, who remained unbeaten on 38 and struck the only two sixes of the entire innings, helped England advance to a competitive score in the end.

In spite of the last wicket pair's half century stand the England innings ended with seven balls remaining.

For the hosts, off-spinner Parvez Rasool was the most successful bowler with figures of 3 for 38 off 10 overs, while left-arm slow bowler Shahbaz Nadeem picked up a brace along with medium pacers Ashok Dinda, who took his wickets in two balls in two separate overs, and left arm Pradeep Sangwan got one.

Sangwan's wickets included that of Roy, who was hit-wicket when a part of his helmet fell on the stumps to disturb the bails as we went for a pull shot off a short ball.

Siddharth Kaul picked up 1 for 31 while Vinay Kumar ended up without a wicket to his name.

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