An incredible 20 run final-over onslaught from Queensland all-rounder Jack Wildermuth led Australia A to victory against India B at Alur, and a place in the final of the ‘A Team’ quadrangular series, which also involves India A and South Africa A.
Requiring 19 from the final over, Wildermuth faced all six balls, and with five needed to win off the last ball he smashed a six over mid-wicket to win the game.
The 24-year-old finished unbeaten on 62 off just 42 balls, as player-of-the-match Usman Khawaja saw the innings through from start to finish with a brilliant century (101 not out off 93).
It will now be a rematch in the final at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday, with Australia A to face India B.
“I knew I had to take the innings deep,” said Wildermuth after the match. “Ussie’s (Khawaja) obviously the set batsman, so I tried to not put too much pressure on him and if we could take it deep we were always in with a chance.”
But as the overs ran down the Melbourne Renegades star felt the game was slipping away.
“We were really trying to go there for a few overs but we couldn’t get the ball out of the meat of the bat,” he explained.
“It was ‘watch the ball, try to put it over the fence’. We needed 19 off the last over so we needed boundaries.”
Of the final ball maximum, Wildermuth said he had tried the winning shot a couple of times earlier in the over.
“I’d been trying to play that same shot a couple of times during the (last) over and I didn’t get them,” he said. “So I just made sure I watched the ball really hard and I knew if it was there I could probably put it over the fence.”
In a rain-affected match, Australia A reached 132-4 from 24.2 overs before the covers came on, in pursuit of India B’s 276-6 from their 50 overs.
Travis Head won the toss and elected to bowl, with Michael Neser (3-47 off nine) the pick of the Australian bowlers as India B captain Manish Pandey (117 not out off 109 balls) reached three figures.
Australia A’s target was revised to 247 from 40 overs after the rain break, a further 115 runs from 15.4 overs to win.
Alex Carey (23) made an impact alongside Khawaja at the top of the order in a 77-run opening partnership, while Marnus Labuschagne (13) and Ashton Agar (15) also made starts either side of the rain break.
But it was Wildermuth and Khawaja who held their nerve in thrilling finish, as the run rate crept up to 11 an over with six overs to go, and then 28 runs needed off the last two overs.
The first two balls of the final over- bowled by pacer Prasidh Krishna – went for two runs each, followed by a four and another two.
With nine needed off the final two balls, Wildermuth found the boundary on both occasions – a four followed by a maximum with Australia A finishing their 40 overs at 248-8 to win by five wickets.
Relieved to reach the final, Wildermuth said the team “knew we needed to win” against India B.
“We didn’t probably start the tournament as well as we had liked but the last two battings innings have been really great, especially from our top order.
“Someone’s stood up and got a hundred which is great, Ussie and Heady (Travis Head), so it’s great to get some momentum going into the final.”
Australia A quadrangular series results:
August 23: Australia A (151) lost to India A (152-5)
August 25: Australia A (322-5) beat South Africa A (290)
August 27: Australia A (248-5) beat India B (276-6) via DLS method
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