New Zealand ~~A~~ thrash India ~~A~~ by 7 wickets

Published: Monday, July 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:The batting heroics of Gautam Gambhir (64) and S Badrinath (63) went in vain as India 'A' suffered a humiliating seven-wicket loss at the hands of New Zealand 'A' in their first ODI of the Top End series at the Cazaly's Stadium in Cairns today.

New Zealand 'A' coasted to victory with 15.5 overs to spare after comfortably chasing a modest 217-run target set by the Indians after losing just three wickets.

Opener Jesse Ryder laid the foundation with a swashbuckling 84-ball 114, which included 10 boundaries and six sixes and Peter Fulton remained unbeaten at 54 to see the Kiwis through after they suffered an early blow in the form of Jamie How, who was bowled by RP Singh off the first ball of the innings.

Earlier, the Indians were all out in 49.4 overs after a middle-order collapse with opener Gambhir and Badrinath standing tall amid the ruins with their valuable contributions.

Mark Gillespie took a five-wicket haul in 9.4 overs, which included two maidens, to break the back of Indian line-up. Nathan McCullum took two in his spell of 10 overs as India 'A' crumbled in front of the Kiwi attack.

The top order -- except for Gambhir -- struggled against the pace of Gillespie, who was unrelenting with his sharp line and length.

Robin Uthappa (3) was the first to go holing out to Ryder off a Gillespie delivery.

The fall of TP Singh (12) and captain Venugopal Rao (8) meant that the Indians were reduced to 72 for three in 14.3 overs.

With wickets falling all around him Gambhir needed a steady partner to revive the Indian innings. He got that in the form of Badrinath and the duo took India to 125 by the end of the 25th over.

However, Gambhir, who had batted patiently till then, lofted a McCullum delivery only to be caught by How. Gambhir's 64 came in 76 balls and included nine hits to the fence.

India kept losing wickets at regular intervals after that and apart from a 23-run contribution by Reetinder Singh Sodhi, who put up some resistance along with Badrinath, hardly anything went right for the team late in the innings as they failed to compelete their 50 overs and folded for 216. Badrinath hit his 63 in 97 deliveries which included three fours.

Having failed with the bat, the Indians desperately needed wickets to win the match and hopes were raised with the first ball dismissal of How. However success was hard to come after that and except for the run out of Ross Taylor by Badrinath in the 15th over, the Indians didn't have anything to celebrate in the match.

Ryder ripped apart the Indian attack with smashing hits and by the time he was stumped by Parthiv Patel off RP Singh's delivery the damage had been done.

The Kiwis did not suffer any setback after that as Fulton and James Marshall (13 not out) took them to victory with 15.5 over to spare.

Brief Scores:

India 'A': 216 all out (Gautam Gambhir 64, S Badrinath 63, Mark Gillespie 5/35) New Zealand 'A': 218 for three (Jesse Ryder 114, Peter Fulton 54, RP Singh 1/45)

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