India A’s triumph in the tri-series featuring Australia A and South Africa A was impressive in every sense. The chief factor behind their victory was the complete team effort that they put in. Here’s a look at the heroes of India A’s tri-series win.
Shikhar Dhawan: Just like in the Champions Trophy, Dhawan was in peak form here as well. In four matches, he was the leading run-scorer in the tournament by some distance, with 410 runs, including the sensational 248 against South Africa A at Pretoria, which took them into the final. Dhawan was consistency-personified throughout the tournament. Apart from the double hundred, he got two fifties – 85 against South Africa A and 62 against Australia A in the final, to wrap up a perfect tournament.
Rohit Sharma: Dhawan’s opening partner flourished yet again in the left-hander company, although he continued his habit of not going on to make hundreds. Sharma totaled 198 runs in four matches, with fifties in three of those games. He made 66 in the loss against Australia A, 65 in the win over South Africa A and 61 in yet another loss against Australia A. Although he did not come to the party in the final, he chipped in with the brilliant run out of Mitchell Marsh.
Ambati Rayudu: The middle-order bat did not have a failure per se. Every time he went out to bat, he made a contribution. In four matches, Rayudu compiled 193 runs with two fifties averaging 48. He made 70 in the opening game against Australia A, a quick fire 57 against South Africa A, 32 in the second game against Australia A and an important 34 in the final. Every time India were in a spot of bother, Rayudu came up with the goods.
Suresh Raina: The left-hander had a mixed series, with 172 runs in five matches at an average of 34 with two fifties. His two half-centuries came in the team’s first two matches in the series –83 against Australia A and 60 against South Africa A. He failed in the remaining matches, scoring only 6, 6 and 17 in the final. He did chip in with the ball, picking up three wickets in the series, including the big scalp of Glenn Maxwell in the final. As always, he was brilliant in the field, plucking a brilliant catch off Nic Maddinson in the final.
Shahbaz Nadeem: The left-arm spinner was India A’s best bowler in the series by some distance even as most of the others struggled. After five games, he ended up with nine wickets averaging 25. Nadeem did not go wicketless in any of the five matches. He picked up 2 for 42 in the opening game, 2 for 49 in the next game against South Africa A, and a wicket each in next two matches although he was a tad expensive. Nadeem however reserved his best for the final. His 3 for 34 ensured that Australia A could not fight back after their massive batting collapse early in the innings.
--By A Cricket Analyst