Ahmed puts Vics on top
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Victoria have leapt into one-day cup finals contention with a four-wicket win over the Cricket Australia XI but only after receiving an almighty scare from the youngsters.
The Bushrangers chased down the target set by the development squad of 154 in 21.4 overs but made hard work of the meagre chase at North Sydney Oval on Tuesday.
While the result was never really in doubt, the Bushrangers should have cruised to victory after Cameron White's run-a-ball 29 and Marcus Harris's quickfire 36 at the top of the order set the tone.
But the CA XI took steady wickets with Arjun Nair starring with the ball, taking 3-53, including the key wickets of Harris and Peter Handscomb.
It followed on from his 67 with the bat earlier in the day, earning him man of the match honours in a losing side.
Rob Quiney (1no) and Evan Gulbis (23no) eventually guided the Bushrangers over the line to jump from fourth into second, leapfrogging Tasmania and Western Australia, after chasing down their target inside 25 overs to earn a valuable double bonus point.
Earlier, former Australia spinner Fawad Ahmed ripped through the CA XI top order and took 4-43, falling just short of his best domestic 50-over figures.
The legspinner's introduction into the attack prompted a steady collapse of wickets, also snaring opener Nair, the only batsman in the CA XI to aim up.
As the CA XI top order collapsed around him, it looked like Nair would have to post a big score to lend some credibility to their innings.
However, he threw his wicket away, clubbing Ahmed to long on and picking out Gulbis, leaving his side reeling at 5-130 in the 30th over.
No other CA XI batsman passed 19, with wickets falling at regular intervals as they were bowled out in 37.4 overs.
Australia allrounder Glenn Maxwell was sharp in the field - taking a fine catch at midwicket to dismiss Will Bosisto before running out Brendan Doggett after he slipped at the non-striker's end.