Chasing 122 to win, England fell to 95/8 but Duckett took charge with tailenders Matt Carter and Tom Bailey to farm the strike and take the Lions to victory.
Having lost the toss, England took to the field and soon had India A in trouble, with Lewis Gregory dismissing a senior international batsman first ball of the innings for the second time in the series. This time the Somerset man bowled KL Rahul and sparked a steady fall of wickets to the Lions seamers.
Bailey collected two excellent wickets on debut, while Jamie Overton claimed three including that of Rishabh Pant, who skied a pull shot into the vacant midwicket region only for Overton to hare after it and catch it over his shoulder.
India’s seamers also had joy on the slow wicket, with Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur picking up four early wickets.
Chahar’s brother Rahul took three wickets as England teetered on the brink of defeat, but Duckett closed the innings with a six in a tense finish.
The win for the Lions meant India A won the limited-overs series 4-1, with two four-day ‘Tests’ still to come on the tour.
“I think it was a good toss to lose in the end because the ball did a bit early on; I think we bowled superbly.
“The [Indian] bowlers are so good, especially the spinners, and we saw today how hard it is when you first come in, so my thinking when we were eight down needing 30 to win, if I can face the bulk of the deliveries hopefully we’ll get over the line. When [Tom] Bailey came in at the end he looked good against the left-arm spinner so I said I’d face every ball from the leg spinner, who was a dangerous bowler.
“As a squad we’ve learned a lot over the series. We’ve learned a lot from their batters and how much time they take with their innings. We’ve had traces of that with Pope [in match three] and Billings [in match one] but I think we’ve lost too many wickets quickly out here.
“It has been a great tour and a really tough one but I think we’ve played some good cricket and the series was a lot closer than 4-1. I think India just won the crucial moments.”
Andy Flower – England Lions head coach
“It’s nice to get a win – you always feel better with a win under your belt – but congratulations to the way the India A side has played in this series.
“It has been a really interesting series for us and our young boys will have learned a lot playing against some very good players. The India A side has more international caps than our boys so it was a very good experience to play against them.
“The purpose of these tours is for our boys to have very strong competition to see where they are and get good, clean feedback from the results of these games. We want to use that information wisely for the boys’ development.
“It was good to see Ben Duckett embrace the opportunity to be the main batsman today, even though we were chasing a small target. It was a tricky pitch, so it was good to see him not-out at the end. Often, I think, selectors and coaches look for those batters who can see it through and be around at the end; that’s what the great batsmen do.”
© Cricket World 2019