Pandey, Pant guide India A to easy win over Afghanistan A

 Riding on half-centuries from Rishabh Pant and skipper Manish Pandey, India A thrashed Afghanistan A by 113 runs in the tri-nation One-Day International series at LC de Villiers Oval here on Tuesday. Put in to bat first, India posted a mammoth 322/5, thanks to Pandey (86 not out) and Pant (60) before pacer Mohammed Siraj (3/49) stifled Afghanistan A to 209/9.  India recovered from the early loss of opener Karun Nair (9), courtesy a 70-run second-wicket stand between opener Shreyas Iyer (44) and one-down bat Pant.  Thereafter, skipper Pandey and Pant joined forces to add 42 runs for the third wicket before Pandey and Haryana's Deepak Hooda (32) added 78 valuable runs for the fourth wicket. All-rounder Krunal Pandya (48 off 27 balls) played a useful hand lower down the order, clobbering seven boundaries and a six. For the minnows, left-arm spinner Sharafuddin Ashraf (2/48) was the pick of the bowlers. In reply, Afghanistan A lost their first wicket with one run on board. Opener Javed Ahmadi (21) alongwith one-down Younas Ahmadzai (28) and middle-order batsman Rahmat Shah (28) started well but failed to convert their scores.  Middle-order batsman Najibullah Zadran (62) was the lone warrior for the Afghans but failed to find enough support as the Indian bowlers tightened their grip by picking wickets at regular intervals. For India A, medium-pacer Siraj picked up three wickets while Siddharth Kaul and Vijay Shankar picked two wickets each.  Brief Scores: India A 322/5 (Manish Pandey 86 not out, Rishabh Pant 60, Sharafuddin Ashraf 2/48) beat Afghanistan A 209/9 (Najibullah Zadran 62, Rahmat Shah 28, Mohammed Siraj 3/49) by 113 runs.