New Delhi: Defending champions India cruised into the final of the Twenty20 leg of the Emerging Players Tournament, defeating Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) and South Africa in its first two matches in Brisbane.
While in its first game, India eked out a narrow two-run victory over AIS, the Parthiv Patel-led side defeated South Africa by a comfortable 102-run margin in the next match.
Against AIS, India rode on Shikhar Dhawan`s 37-ball 58 to post a competitive 168 for four in their alloted 20 overs after winning the toss and deciding to bat.
He was ably supported by Parthiv (39) and Manish Pandey (32) en route the total.
With a defendable total on board, pacer Jaydev Unadkat (3/33) then impressed with the new ball to restrict the Australian side to 166 for five.
Apart from his his exploits with the bat, Dhawan was also played a part in the downfall of two AIS wickets.
While he ran out dangerman Luke Pomersbach (59 off 36), the top-scorer of AIS, Dhawan also chipped in with a wicket giving away just 25 runs from his three overs.
James Faulkner was the other half centurion for AIS, but eventually his 42-ball unbeaten 52 was not enough to see the Australian team home.
In the second match, Dhawan (47) and Parthiv (37) once again came up with a solid start that enabled India to pile up 166 for seven on the board after they were sent into bat by South Africa.
Apart from the opening duo, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara and Manish Pandey scored identical 14s while Naman Ojha made a quick-fire 20 down the order to take India beyond the 160-mark.
For South Africa Cornelius de Villers picked up three wickets for 34.
Defending the target, Unadkat (4/10) and R Vinay Kumar (2/13) dished out a breathtaking opening spell to bowl out South Africa for a paltry 64 runs in 13.1 overs.
Piyush Chawla (2/8) was also among wickets with his leg spinners.