Asia Cup: Jadeja, Siraj pick three each as Sheikh, Kami guide Nepal to 230 against India

Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj picked three-wicket hauls as Aasif Sheikh and Sompal Kami played gusty knocks to guide Nepal to a competitive total of 230 against India in the Asia Cup Group A match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Monday.

Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj picked three-wicket hauls as Aasif Sheikh and Sompal Kami played gusty knocks to guide Nepal to a competitive total of 230 against India in the Asia Cup Group A match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Monday.

On a two-paced pitch that aided spinners more, Nepal put up a much-improved batting display after being skittled out for 104 against Pakistan last week. Aasif, the wicketkeeper-batter, was brilliant in his 58 off 97 balls, laced with eight fours.

After an hour’s rain interruption, Kami during his 56-ball 48 struck a few shots to take Nepal past 200. Nepal were also aided by some erratic bowling from India, who bowled too many short and back-of-length deliveries.

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There was also very sloppy work from India in fielding, leading to three catches being dropped in the first five overs and plenty of misfields happening throughout the innings.

In a lacklustre Indian bowling performance, Jadeja stood out with his 3-40, while Siraj took the same number of wickets, but conceded 61 runs in 9.2 overs. Mohammed Shami, Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur picked a wicket each while Kuldeep Yadav gave away only 34 runs in his ten overs.

After India elected to bowl first, Shreyas Iyer and Virat Kohli dropped catches of Kushal Bhurtel and Sheikh on successive deliveries. Bhurtel had another escape when Ishan Kishan dropped a straightforward chance off Shami in the fifth over.

Bhurtel and Sheikh made the most out of India’s shelling chances by carting boundaries on fuller deliveries with superb timing while countering the short-ball challenge from the pacers with aplomb via pulls to put a 65-run opening partnership.

India finally had a breakthrough in the last over of Power-play when Thakur got a slight away movement and got Bhurtel to nick behind to Kishan. With spinners coming in, it led to stemming of boundary flow for Nepal and resulted in Bhim Sharki chopping onto his stumps off Ravindra Jadeja.

The left-arm spinner then found some turn to have Rohit Paudel caught sharply at first slip and Kaushal Malla miscuing a catch to mid-off. But Sheikh marched forward, pulling, flicking and driving with ease to reach his fifty in the 28th over.

His vigil was ended in the 30th over when his attempted flick took a leading edge to cover off Siraj. The pacer got success in his next over when Gulsan Jha nicked behind. Dipendra Singh Airee and Sompal Kami hit a couple of boundaries before rain, which was predicted, interrupted proceedings, with lots of grey clouds overhead.

Post resumption, Pandya broke the 50-run partnership when he trapped Airee lbw. Kami struck sixes on short balls from Siraj and Pandya, before falling two short of his fifty by nicking behind to a diving Kishan off Shami. It was followed by Sandeep Lamichhane being run out and Siraj castling Lalit Rajbanshi to end Nepal’s innings in the 49th over.

Brief scores:

Nepal 230 all out in 48.2 overs (Aasif Sheikh 58, Sompal Kami 48; Ravindra Jadeja 3-40, Mohammed Siraj 3-61) against India

(IANS)

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