Sanju starts off as captain, and wins against New Zealand

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Sanju Samson started the first match as captain of the India A team with a win. New Zealand A defeated New Zealand A by seven wickets in the first unofficial ODI at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Chasing a victory target of 168 set by the Kiwis, they easily chased down the target in 31.5 overs for the loss of three wickets.

The match witnessed the dominance of Indian players. For India A, the bowlers were the first to put up a brilliant show while the batsmen also showed their strength. Batting first, New Zealand could only manage 167 runs. In reply, the India A team did not have much difficulty in reaching the target. Opener Rituraj Gaikwad scored 41 while Rajat Patidar scored an unbeaten 45 to take the team to victory in 31.5 overs for the loss of 3 wickets.

Skipper Sanju played a crucial role in the victory with an unbeaten 29 off 32 balls. Earlier, the Kiwis got off to a poor start after losing the toss and opting to bat first. They lost their first wicket with the score at 14. India did not allow anyone who arrived later to stand. They lost five wickets for 27 runs. Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Sen put the visiting team under tremendous pressure in the first eight overs itself. The Kiwis scored 40 runs in the powerplay.

Michael Ripon, who came in to bat at number eight for New Zealand A, scored an unbeaten 61. Shardul Thakur took four wickets for 32 runs while Kuldeep Sen took three wickets for 30 runs. Kuldeep Yadav picked up a wicket. There are also fans who feel that Sanju’s entry into the Indian team will not be too late as he starts proving his mettle as captain.

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