Batting meltdown hands Windies A defeat in opener

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A familiar batting meltdown thwarted West Indies A’s pursuit of a modest total and sent them crashing to a disappointing 65-run loss to India A in the opening 50-over clash here Thursday.

Chasing 191 for victory at Coolidge Cricket Ground, the hosts collapsed for 125 in the 36th over with left-hander Jonathan Carter hitting a defiant unbeaten 41 and Rovman Powell hammering a breezy 41.

They were the only specialist batsmen to reach double figures and only two of three overall. Windies A were slumping at 30 for four in the 10th over before recovering to reach 95 without further loss.

And they looked to be regaining their composure when a second collapse followed, with the last six wickets falling for 30 runs.

West Indies A were hurt by the outstanding left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed who claimed three for 16 while left-arm spinner Axar Patel (2-16), leg-spinner Rahul Chahar (2-32) and 19-year-old off-spinner Washington Sundar (2-37) chipped in with two wickets each.

Captain Roston Chase had earlier snatched four for 19 with his steady off-spin as India also found the going difficult and were dismissed for 190 with seven balls remaining in the innings.

Shreyas Iyer, batting at number three, top-scored with 77 in a knock requiring 107 deliveries and including eight fours and a six.

He put on 95 for the fourth wicket with Hanuma Vihari (34) to dig his side out of trouble at 22 for three in the eighth over.

Fast bowler Akeem Jordan, who took three for 43, was behind West Indies A’s strong start, removing Ruturaj Gaikwad (3) and captain Manish Pandey (4) cheaply.

Vihari had faced 63 balls and counted four fours in the rebuilding effort when he played back to one that turned and was bowled by Cornwall in the 31st over.

Chase then ran through the lower order as India A lost their last six wickets for 56 runs.

Any hopes West Indies A harboured of an uncomplicated victory were then ruined with a clatter of early wickets. With only three runs on the board, Sunil Ambris shuffled across to the third ball of the innings from seamer Deepak Chahar and was unfortunate to be adjudged lbw to one sliding down leg.

Left-handed opener John Campbelle followed in the fourth over, missing a pull at Khaleel Ahmed and playing on for four while Shane Dowrich nicked one that left him to be caught at the wicket for nine off the bowler’s next over.

When Chase was also squared up by Khaleel Ahmed and caught at the wicket for seven in the 10th over, Windies A were in dire straits.

But Carter and Powell came to their rescue, posting 65 for the fifth wicket to put the contest back into the balance.

While Carter exercised caution in a 98-ball knock that included a single boundary, Powell was more cavalier, striking three fours and two sixes in a 40-ball cameo.

However, once Powell slashed at one tossed up by Rahul Chahar and was taken at first slip on the second attempt by Vihari, the Windies A resistance ceased.

The second match of the series is scheduled for the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground on Sunday.

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