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All-round India race to their second successive win in Emerging Asia Cup

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Last updated on 17 Jul 2023 | 04:00 PM
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All-round India race to their second successive win in Emerging Asia Cup

After beating UAE by eight wickets and 141 balls to spare, India hammered Nepal by nine wickets and 16 balls left

In another easy win in the ongoing ACC Men’s Emerging Asia Cup, India A thrashed the Nepal side by nine wickets at the R. Premdasa Stadium in Colombo on Monday (July 17). Chasing only 168, India reached their target in 22.1 overs, thus registering a second successive win with 167 balls to spare. Only three days ago on Friday (July 14), India A defeated UAE by eight wickets and 141 balls to spare. 

For India, the clash against Nepal was similar to that of the UAE game. While India opted to bowl first against UAE, this time Nepal opted to bat first in an afternoon start. Much like the previous game, Harshit Rana yet again struck in the first over, pinning Kushal Bhurtel in front of the stumps on the second ball of the game. From the other end, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, who missed the last game, struck in his third over. He got Aasif Sheikh, the other opener and Nepal’s wicketkeeper batter, out caught behind the wicket. 

Nepal soon slid to 37/5 with the departure of Kushal Malla on the last ball of the 10th over. Harshit picked two scalps in this period while Hangargekar pouched three wickets. The skipper Rohit Paudel led Nepal’s recovery, scoring an 85-ball 65 with the help of seven boundaries. 

Paudel first found support in Sompal Kami with whom he added 53 runs for the sixth wicket. Kami scored a 39-ball 14 before being dismissed LBW to the left-arm spinner, Manav Suthar. Another 50-run stand followed between Paudel and Gulshan Jha. 

Nishant Sindhu, the U19 World Cup winner in the 2022 edition, then broke the partnership, ending Paudel’s stay at the crease. From thereon, it was about stretching the score with the limited resources left. 

Nepal added another 23 runs to their total, courtesy of Jha’s 38 off 30 balls (two fours, two sixes). Jha was only the second of the Nepal batters to cross the 20-run mark and was the only one to bat with a strike-rate in excess of 100. 

Nepal were bowled out for 167 in 39.2 overs. Besides Hangargekar’s 3/25 and Harshit’s 2/16, Sindhu snaffled 4/14 in only 3.2 overs. The Haryana all-rounder accounted for all the last four wickets of Nepal’s innings - Paudel, Jha, Pawan Sarraf and Lalit Rajbanshi. 

The Indian openers who missed out in the previous game cashed in this time. Both Sai Sudharsan and Abhishek Sharma were out within the first six overs against UAE, but on Monday, the duo added 139 runs for the opening wicket, thus doing the majority of the work in the run chase. 

Two wides, an inside edge for two and a four from Sai Sudharsan constituted 10 runs in the first over and the duo never looked back from thereon. India’s run-rate never went below 7.5 in the first 10 overs. It was in stark contrast with Nepal’s first over with the bat. India were 76/0 in their first 10 overs as compared to Nepal’s 37/5. 

India struck 13 fours in the first 10 overs and there were five overs with multiple boundaries. 

By the time Paudel had Abhishek Sharma caught at the long-on boundary, it was too late for Nepal's cause. The opening pair added 139 off only 114 deliveries. Abhishek hammered 87 off 69 balls with 12 fours and two sixes. 

Dhruv Jurel, coming in at number three, carried on batting with Abhishek’s intent, scoring an unbeaten 21 off 12 with one four and two sixes. Sudharsan, meanwhile, steadied himself after a promising start, walking back unbeaten on 58 off 52 balls. 

Nikin Jose, India’s number three in the previous game, and Yash Dhull didn’t bat today as both were involved in a match-wining 138-run stand against UAE, giving them ample time in the middle. 

Abhishek Sharma was adjudged the player-of-the-match for his 87 with the bat. He also bowled seven overs, conceding only 33 runs without taking a wicket. 

Except Sarraf, everyone other Nepal bowler conceded at an economy of more than six runs per over. 

Unlike other sides, Nepal were playing plenty of players who took part in recently concluded ICC World Cup Qualifiers - Paudel, Malla, Bhim Sharki, Aasif Sheikh, Gulshan Jha and a few more. 

With this win, India maintain their top position in Group B of this tournament. Moreover, they have a net run-rate of +3.792. 

India are scheduled to play Pakistan A in their final group stage game on Wednesday (July 19). 

(Cover Image Credits: @BCCI on Twitter)

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