Ishan Kishan was left stranded on an unbeaten 71 as India A lost four wickets in nine balls to suffer a narrow five-run defeat in the deciding third ODI against New Zealand A at Christchurch on Sunday.
Chasing 271 for a series-win, India A needed seven runs from the final over with two wickets in hand but wicket-keeper batsman Kishan took a single off the second ball after playing a dot to expose the tail.
It proved quite costly as pacer Kyle Jamieosn (4/49) knocked off Sandeep Warrier and Ishan Porel off consecutive balls to end the match with two balls to spare.
In the 49th over, India A lost well-set Axar Patel (32) and Rahul Chahar (0) to left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, as New Zealand snatched the momentum when it mattered the most.
India had got off to a good start with young opener Prithvi Shaw (55) and Ruturaj Gaikwad (44) putting on a confident 79-run stand for the opening wicket. Skipper Mayank Agarwal (22) got a start but could not convert it into a big knock.
After the top three, only Kishan and Axar offered resistance as Suryakumar Yadav (5) and Vijay Shankar (19) could not last long.
New Zealand A’s left-arm spin duo of Ajaz Patel (3/44) and Rachit Ravindra (2/43) did considerable damage to India’s middle and lower order.
It was Mark Chapman, who got New Zealand back into the match with an unbeaten 110-run knock.
India had reduced the host to 68 for four and then 105 for six at one stage with dismissals at regular intervals but Chapman and Todd Astle (56) raised a 136-run partnership for the seven wicket to put up a fighting total.
India A had won the opening ODI by five wickets while New Zealand rallied to win the next before clinching the series with Sunday’s victory.
The two teams will now play a two-match Test series, beginning in Christchurch from January 30.