Recent Match Report – Nepal vs India 5th Match, Group A 2023

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India 147 for 0 (Rohit 74*, Gill 67*) beat Nepal 230 (Aasif 58, Kami 48, Jadeja 3-40, Siraj 3-61) by ten wickets via DLS method

Two days after the Pakistan-India game was washed out in Pallekele on Saturday, a similar rain threat hung over India’s first meeting against Nepal in international cricket at the same venue. But the rain wasn’t as persistent on Monday and relented by 9.30pm to cut India’s target to 145 in 23 overs. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill then sparkled with an unbroken 147-run opening partnership to crash Nepal’s party and put India in the Super Fours round. Pakistan have already qualified for the next stage from this group.
Nepal’s fans, though, had plenty to cheer about in the afternoon, especially when Aasif Sheikh made a solid half-century. Aasif’s innings was bookended by some fluid strokeplay from Kushal Bhurtel in the powerplay and Sompal Kami’s muscular blows in the slog overs. When Aasif reached his half-century off 88 balls in the 28th over, he had the Nepali fans grooving in the stands. The Nepali beats that played at the ground added to the revelry, with Rohit Paudel’s team eventually posting a fairly competitive total of 230 on a two-paced pitch.

It was short-lived, though, for Nepal as the Rohit launched an opening salvo after a lengthy rain break. He scooped, slog-swept, and reverse-swept his way to a 39-ball half-century. Gill, who had belted Kami for three fours in an over before the rain break, largely rode in Rohit’s slipstream upon resumption. By the time Gill got to his own fifty, India were just 29 away from victory. Rohit and Gill finished it off with 17 balls and all ten wickets to spare.

India weren’t as dominant in the early exchanges. Shreyas Iyer, Virat Kohli and wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan dropped three catches in the first five overs, allowing Nepal’s batters to ease in.

Nepal’s batters were more comfortable against pace, driving languidly in the ‘V’ and also ramping audaciously in the ‘V’ behind the wicket. Bhurtel, who was reprieved twice, punished India with his attacking intent and enterprise. He played arguably the shot of the day when he hooked Mohammed Siraj over square leg and out of the ground. Siraj kept digging the ball into the deck and kept leaking runs.

Allrounder Shardul Thakur provided India the opening breakthrough in the last over of the powerplay, but he was also lacklustre during his short shift of four overs.

Aasif displayed stickability, something Nepal’s batters lacked on their Asia Cup debut against Pakistan in Multan. Siraj then returned to the attack with the old ball to dismiss Aasif for 58 off 97 balls.

The left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav worked in tandem to help India seize control. Jadeja proved difficult to get away with his turn – and lack thereof – claiming figures of 3 for 40 in his ten overs. It wasn’t until Jadeja’s eighth over that Nepal scored a boundary off him. Kuldeep wasn’t among the wickets on Monday, but he was almost as thrifty as Jadeja with his stock ball and wrong’un on a helpful surface.

Dipendra Singh Airee and Kami then showed that they could also cut it against India’s superstars. Kami, in particular, lined up the short balls from Siraj and Hardik Pandya during his 48 off 56 balls while Airee contributed 29 off 25 balls.

Playing his first ODI since March, and only playing because of Bumrah’s unavailability on Monday, Mohammed Shami combined with Siraj to bowl Nepal out for 230 in 48.2 overs.

Gill’s calm and the Rohit storm then blew Nepal’s attack away in a truncated chase.