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Pakistan A no match for Sai Sudharsan, Rajvardhan Hangargekar

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Last updated on 19 Jul 2023 | 06:21 PM
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Pakistan A no match for Sai Sudharsan, Rajvardhan Hangargekar

The duo played match-winning roles to ensure India A made it to the semi-final unbeaten

The India A vs Pakistan A match at Colombo on Wednesday (July 19) is certainly a prelude to what's in store for the upcoming months. India vs Pakistan fixtures are set to headline high-profile tournaments like the upcoming Asia Cup and the World Cup. As a result, we are guaranteed at least three matches between the arch-rivals in the next three months. 

Added to that, we could once again have the A team from both nations fighting for the highest honours at the ACC Men's Emerging Teams Asia Cup 2023 if they go on to win their respective semi-final fixtures. While this game may have been a mere formality in terms of who makes it to the semis, in reality, there are never dead rubbers when it comes to India vs Pakistan, regardless of the level, are they?

The day belonged to two young guns who are looking to make their way up in Indian cricket. One of them is Rajvardhan Hangargekar, who picked up a five-wicket haul and Sai Sudharsan, who is just continuing his good run of form, right from last season's Vijay Hazare Trophy to the IPL, where he played a stellar knock in the final and now at the A level. 

It looked like it would be India's and Hangargekar's day when the Indian pacer bowled a two-wicket maiden in his second over of the game. However, a few delightful hits from Sahibzada Farhan (35), a veteran of three T20Is, seemed to have gotten Pakistan back on track. Just when Pakistan thought they can move on from Hangargekar, left-arm spinner Manav Suthar continued his impressive tournament with three vital wickets, removing Haseebullah Khan (27), Kamran Ghulam (15) and the big one of skipper Mohammad Haris (14).

One of the few positives from Pakistan's batting was the 53-run seventh wicket stand between Mubasir Khan (28) and Qasim Akram (48). Eventually, they huffed and puffed to 205.

Enter Sai Sudharsan

Sai Sudharsan had a few lives, including being dismissed off a no-ball, but there is no doubt about his talent. It certainly looked like it was going to be his day. He latched on to anything full and did not hold back when it came to dispatching the short balls as well. 

With scores of 8 and an unbeaten 58 in the two matches of the competition, it looked as though a big knock for Sudharsan was just around the corner. He chose one of the biggest fixtures in world cricket to produce one of the best knocks of the tournament. At one stage, it looked as though skipper Yash Dhull may deny his teammate a chance of getting to his fourth List A ton. With 12 needed for India to win and the southpaw needing 12 to get to his ton, he took on Shahnawaz Dahani, hitting 4,0,6,6 off the first four deliveries of his sixth over to get to his ton and help India over the line.

Not to forget, Nikin Jose, too played his part, scoring 53 off 64, thereby playing a huge role in the 99-run second wicket stand with Sudharsan. Pakistan will hope they come good in their semi-final clash against Sri Lanka on Friday (July 21) at P Sara Oval, Colombo. 

Pakistan let down by their experienced lot

Unlike India, Pakistan have quite a few players in their XI, who have played international cricket for their country, including their skipper Mohammad Haris. You throw in the likes of Saim Ayub, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Wasim and Dahani in there, you have formidable players up your ranks capable of winning you games on their own.

India broke little sweat in their first two games of the competition, where they beat UAE and Nepal. It was the same case for Pakistan as well. However, unlike Pakistan, India waltz into the semi-final clash against Bangladesh with much of their batting untested.

Brief scores:

Pakistan A 205 in 48 overs (Qasim Akram 48, Sahibzada Farhan 35; Rajvardhan Hangargekar 5 for 42) lost to India A 210 for 2 in 36.4 overs (Sai Sudharsan 104*, Nikin Jose 53; Mubasir Khan 1 for 45) by 8 wickets

Player of the match: Sai Sudharsan

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