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IND A v ENG A 1st T20: India A Eke Out A Thrilling Win vs England A

India A stepped up when needed the most and kickstarted the three-match T20 series on an auspicious note registering a close three-run win versus England A at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai here on Wednesday. Scoring 134/7 batting first, India A’s bowling was the standout from the encounter as they restricted England to 131/8, just three runs shy of a victory.

India A elected to bat first winning the toss and it proved to be a commendable choice by newly appointed skipper Minnu Mani in hindsight. Openers Vrinda Dinesh and Uma Chetry gave India a brisk start and were really able to get to the ball and score the runs without much hassle.

However, giving England A the first breakthrough was the renewed and energised Issy Wong who dismissed Chetry for 9. It was then the handy partnership between Vrinda Dinesh and Disha Kasat that set the tone for the innings. With the occasional boundaries and quick running, they kept the bowlers of England A on their feet and sailed through the powerplay with a good run rate.

It was Lauren Filer making her inroads in the bowling spell as she got the settled Vrinda Dinesh for a run-a-ball 22. Joining Kasat was G Divya and the duo once again began stitching a partnership and kept the scoreboard ticking. Kasat’s stay at the crease came to a conclusion when she was undone by Charlie Dean and G Divya was dismissed by Kirstie Gordon for 22.

With handy contributions of 15 and 19 coming from the lower middle order batters, Arushi Goel and Kanika Ahuja respectively; it was Shreyanka Patil’s 5 that ensured India A reached the total of 134/7 in their 20 overs at a healthy run rate of 6.70. For England A, it was Freya Kemp and Charlie Dean with two wickets each who were the standout performers ably supported by Issy Wong, Lauren Filer and Kirstie Gordon.

The run chase was always going to be an interesting proposition and with Grace Scrivens, the former England U-19 captain and Mady Villiers at the crease, one could expect a feisty duel with the Indian bowlers. However, it was Shreyanka Patil who got the first breakthrough for India A as she got Grace Scrivens for 7.

Then, Hollie Armitage joined Mady Villiers and the duo seemed on course to take England A home as they not only balanced their elegant strokeplay with the frequent boundaries but engaged in some good running at the crease which formed the crux of the run chase.

But with Mady Villiers dismissed in the 6th over for 20 by Mannat Kashyap, and Freya Kemp out for 1 by Prakshsika Naik; suddenly the scales were tipping in India A’s favour for a competitive match. Seren Smale and Hollie Armitage then took care of the affairs ably navigating through the run chase and led from the front.

What was a major talking point was how through the match, the India A bowlers kept bowling tight lengths and did not let loose at any point.

A sudden change in the plotline was when Hollie Armitage was dismissed for a well-played 52 off 41 by the skipper of India A Minnu Mani and the very next over had the highly underrated domestic spin wizard Kashvee Gautam get rid of Seren Smale for a settled 31 and Issy Wong for 2, in what was a game-changing spell.

Requiring 23 off the last two overs, the pressure was certainly on England A and with Kashvee’s spell, it seemed incredibly difficult for them to chase it down. Shreyanka Patil then admirably defended those 13 runs off the last over albeit some extras in wides and a boundary, she was able to restrict England A to 131/8 thereby paving the way for a famous India A win in this tense thriller.

For India A, Kashvee Gautam and Shreyanka Patil were the pick of the bowlers with two wickets each and were ably supported by Mannat Kashyap, Minnu Mani and Prakashika Naik with one wicket each. This win gave India A a defining win and an admirable 1-0 lead in the three-match series, setting up the series beautifully.

Brief Scores: India A v England A 1st T20

India A 134/7 in 20 overs (Disha Kasat 25, G Divya 22; Charlie Dean 2/19, Freya Kemp 2/30) beat England A 131/8 in 20 overs (Hollie Armitage 52, Seren Smale 31; Kashvee Gautam 2/23, Shreyanka Patil 2/26) by 3 runs.

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