New Delhi: India defeated Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) by two wickets in a low-scoring tense encounter to qualify for the final of the 40-over Emerging Players Tournament in Brisbane.
India will take on South Africa in the final on August 20 after the Proteas defeated New Zealand comfortably by five wickets in another match.
New Zealand and AIS will face off for the third place.
AIS’ decision to bat after winning the toss backfired as Jaydev Unadkat continued his impressive show and scalped four wickets for just eight runs, while his pace colleague R Vinay Kumar and Dhawal Kulkarni picked up two wickets apiece to bowl out the Australian side for 127 in 35.2 overs.
The hosts’ innings never got the momentum as they lost their first six wickets for a mere 48 runs.
It was Glenn Maxwell’s counter-attacking unbeaten 50-ball 63-run knock, studded with four fours and two sixes, which took the AIS innings beyond the 100-run mark.
He added identical 31 runs with James Pattinson and Michell Starc for the seventh and eighth wickets respectively to give the AIS bowlers something to bowl at.
However, he ran out of partners in his unbeaten knock, as Unadkat - who finished with 4 for 8 in 5.2 overs - returned to mop up the tail and bowl out Australia for 127.
Chasing the paltry score, India began on a steady note with Abhinav Mukund (27) and Shikhar Dhawan (20) adding 37 for the opening wicket while Cheteshwar Pujara chipping in with 32.
AIS seamers brought their side back into the match, reducing India to 95 for five at one stage and then to 121 for eight after the visitors lost three wickets in a span of eight runs.
But Manish Pandey (23 not out) held firm and saw India home in 28.3 overs.
Josh Hazlewood was the pick of the bowlers for AIS picking up three wickets for 26 runs while Peter George (2/13) and Mitchell Starc (2/42) supported him well.