India A beat Rhodes-led Israel XI to win their first tour match

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Ashdod, Israel, Jul 14 (UNI) India A had a cake walk as they chased down a paltry score of 53 runs by Israel XI, led by former South African legend Jonty Rhodes, to win their first of three one-day matches by nine wickets here.

The matches are being played this week here in the celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary. The Israel team was made up of Jewish cricketers from around the world, including players from Australia, Ireland, India and South Africa.

The 38-year-old Rhodes led team, managed 52 runs, before the Indian team cruised to the win, dropping only one wicket in the process yesterday.

While much was expected from Rhodes, who retired from the game in 2003, scored just 11 runs before being caught. Hopes had also been high for another South African, Adam Bacher, but he was out for just seven runs.

However, the Israel Cricket Association chairman Stanley Perlman said he had enjoyed the Indian performance and expected more from the Israeli team in today's second match of the series.

''I hope it will be a much better performance tomorrow,'' he said yesterday. ''India played superbly, it was a pleasure to watch.'' He said he was ''hoping for big things tomorrow from (Rhodes) and Adam Bacher.'' Israel batted first, with Jason Molins and Bacher opening for the hosts.

After Bacher was dismissed he was replaced by Isaac Massil who was caught behind for a single. Molins scored 11 runs, equalling Rhodes as Israel's top scorer.

The man of the match award was given to the Indian bowler Rajat Bhatia who wrecked the Israeli batting order with a four-wicket haul before India A chased down the hosts' paltry total in just 5.5 overs.

When the Indians batted it was clear they were playing to impress. The one wicket that fell was taken by Yaniv Razpurker, who got M Vijay out for 31 runs when he was caught by Bension Sagawker.

Since arriving in Israel on Friday, both sides have been given an opportunity to see different sites around Israel before taking to the field.

The India A team consisted of fringe players and those who have caught the eye of the Indian selection committee during the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament.

The captain of India A, Jydev Shah said the team has enjoyed the opportunity to see a new culture.

''They have taken good care of us,'' he said. ''We came to promote the sport so that people here can learn and enjoy it.

''We never knew that this game has been here for 30 years.

People need more time to develop the understanding, but we want to help move it forward.'' While India A has enjoyed the tour and goodwill, Shah reiterated that he and his teammates still came to Israel to take care of business.

''We are first class players, this is our career. We want to play well for the national selectors as well,'' he added.

India A squad for Israel: Jaydev Shah (captain), Swapnil Asnodkar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravi Teja, M Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha, Rajat Bhatia, Yogesh Takawale (wicketkeeper), Rakesh Dhruv, Mohnish Parmar, Vishal Bhatia, Basant Mohanty, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashok Dinda, R Vinay Kumar.

Brief scores: Israel 53 (Jonty Rhodes 11; Rajat Bhatia 4/5) India A 54/1. Result: India A won by 9 wkts.

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