Chennai: Eyeing a spot in the tri-series final, the Unmukt Chand-led India A will look to sort out its batting woes and patchy form when it takes on a struggling South Africa A in the last league match on Wednesday.
Having played three games with just one win and two humiliating losses against Australia A, India A would be hoping to cross the line against the South Africans, whose morale has been hit by the hospitalisation of 10 of its players due to food poisoning.
The players were discharged from a city private hospital after treatment on Monday. South Africa A’s league matches against Australia A, who are already awaiting their opponents in the title clash on August 14, were moved twice after reworking the fixtures.
India A started the tournament with 119-run loss against the Usman Khawaja-led side, but did well to bounce back in the next match against South Africa A, to win by 8 wickets. But once again were done in by a superior Australian unit in their third league match.
Unmukt has got a couple of fifties in the first two games but failed to fire in their previous league match against Australia A. Opener Mayank Agarwal has also got a solid hundred under his belt but consistency in the batting order is what is worrying the young boys.
On slow MA Chidambaram wickets, the spinners have found their groove but the medium-pacers have been patchy in their performance.
Though players like Kedar Jadhav and Karun Nair have chipped in at crucial moments but it hasn’t been enough to get the team across the line.
Even coach Rahul Dravid has urged the Unmukt-led side to raise their game in in order to impress the national selectors for good options and in order to graduate to the next level.
Second on the points table, India A though have a better chance of making it to the final than South Africa A, who are struggling with form and fitness.
South Africa A may be ideal the opponents to book their ticket for the final, but knowing the Proteas character India A cannot afford to take them lightly.
The Dean Elgar-led side have been lacklustre on field save a few bright performances like Quinton de Kock’s hundred against India A and opener Reeza Hendricks fighting 43 in the tournament opener.
Their bowling attack boasts of Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Hardus Vilijoen, Beuran Hendricks, Wayne Parnell, Eddie Lee, besides medium-pacer Elgar, who can also bowl off breaks.