IND vs NZ, ICC World Cup 2023: India elected to bowl first after Rohit Sharma won the toss against unbeaten New Zealand in their world cup match in Dharamshala.
Asia Cup 2023, IND vs NEP: When Nepal skipper Rohit Paudel walked out for the toss on Monday, he maintained that the Asia Cup 2023 game against India was a great opportunity for his players to showcase their skills in front of the world.
The team responded to the skipper’s faith with a near-perfect batting performance to set a competitive 231, despite being put to bat in overcast conditions against a high quality bowling attack in Pallekele.
In reply, India’s chase was interrupted by rain for almost two hours, immediately after reaching a brisk 17/0 off 2.1 overs, and later was set a revised DLS target of 145 off 23 overs which the Indian opening duo of Rohit Sharma (74 off 59 balls) and Shubman Gill (67 off 62 balls) hunted down with utter ease and with 17 balls to spare.
It seemed both Rohit and Gill were in no mood to let go the opportunity of spending some quality time in the middle after the forgettable outing against Pakistan on Saturday. After returning to bat, both the Indian openers took some time to get their eyes before changing gears that left the Nepal bowlers, already struggling with the wet ball, frustrated.
The win also ended Nepal’s campaign at the Asia Cup while India will join Pakistan in the Super Fours.
Earlier, Nepal’s innings got off to a decent start with the opening combo of Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh putting on 65 runs, thanks to India’s sloppy fielding that saw three catches being dropped in the first five overs by Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli and Ishan Kishan.
The Indian team, however, overcame those lapses to seize control through spin as India’s left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav got turn and variable bounce on a dry Pallekele pitch to restrict the opponents to a gettable total.
Aasif, who received one of the reprieves when Kohli dropped him at short cover in the second over, took full advantage of the let-off by slamming a gritty half century and more importantly setting the tone for the other batters to score freely. The wicketkeeper-batter accumulated in risk-free fashion and provided the kind of calming influence that they lacked on their Asia Cup debut against Pakistan.
The 22-year-old right-hander consumed 97 balls for his 58 runs but held fort at one end even as Jadeja tore into the middle order with quick wickets of Bhim Sharki (7), Rohit Paudel (5) and Kushal Malla (2) after Shardul Thakur had removed Aasif’s opening partner Kushal for a 25-ball 38.
While Aasif’s knock made him the first Nepal batter to slam a half-century against India, it was lower order batter Sompal Kami’s quickfire 56-ball 48, and notable contributions from Gulsan Jha (23) and Dipendra Singh Airee (29) that helped the team get to the total.
As far as the Indian camp is concerned, Rohit Sharma and Co will have a lot of homework on their fielding if they are seriously considering a shot at the World title next month. Apart from the catches, India also missed a host of easy fielding opportunities, which saw them concede a few freebies, especially towards the end of the Nepal innings with the lower order easily milking twos and threes.