Rohit, Gill star as India ease into the Super Four

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Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill put on an unbeaten 147-run stand for the opening wicket.
Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill put on an unbeaten 147-run stand for the opening wicket. © Getty

In a rain-curtailed encounter, India overcame a spirited challenge from Nepal to qualify for the Super Fours in Asia Cup, 2023. Set a revised target of 145 n 23 overs, India's chase was wrapped up in style by openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, who scored unbeaten half-centuries barely being ruffled.

Early in the innings, Gill made the most of the width offered by the pacers peppering the offside boundary off the back foot. Thereafter rain made an untimely interruption, washing out a large part of the innings and forcing resumption only five minutes before the cut-off time.

With the revised target requiring India to press on the accelerator, the mantle was taken up by Rohit who went after the legspinner Sandeep Lamichanne hitting him for a four and a six off consecutive balls twice. Gill too managed to loft the spinner for a six inbetween even as Rohit raced away to a half century off 39 balls. Gill was relatively slower, getting to the mark in 46 balls but made sure that the momentum never slipped at the other end and carried India over the line without any hiccups.

In contrast, India's first bowling effort in the Asia Cup had a mixture of good and bad in equal measure, and Nepal managed to make use of the largesse when on offer and ended up with a fighting total of 230.

Having been put in to bat, Nepal's openers were given three lives in the first five overs. Shreyas Iyer put down a sharp chance at first slip while Virat Kohli, at cover, and wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan put down sitters.

Khushal Bhurtel got going first announcing his intent with a sensational pull off Mohammad Siraj that cleared the stands beyond the boundary comfortably. He capitalised whenever the pacers erred in length, hitting 38 off just 25 balls before he fell in the same vein. Trying to drive Shardul Thakur, he was caught behind soon after pulling him for another six.

Bhurtel's partner, Aasif Sheikh, had tarted off scratchily being beaten by the seam movement on offer for the seamers but gradually settled in to guide the innings. He proved to be more adept against spin and moved on to bring up his 10th ODI fifty.

Spin and Jadeja in particular proved to be a thorn for the middle order. The spinner struck in just his second over when Bhim Shakri got an inside edge onto the stumps. He struck again soon after as Rohit Sharma plucked a sharp chance at slip to get rid of his counterpart Rohit Paudel for 5. Kushal Malla tried to hit out against Jadeja but spooned a simple catch to mid off, giving the left-armer his third wicket in five overs.

While Sheikh's knock steadied one end, Nepal were rattled once more when Siraj was brought back for a spell in the middle overs. The pacer had Sheikh chipping a simple catch to Kohli at short cover before reducing Nepal to 144/6 when Gulsan Jha nicked behind.

But a sprightly partnership between Dipendra Singh Airee and Sompal Kami for the seventh wicket before the rain interruption propped up the innings once more. While the former was trapped by Hardik Pandya's slower ball soon after resumption, Kami led the fight with the lower order, falling only two short of a half century against Mohammed Shami.

Brief Scores:Nepal 230 all out (Aasif Sheikh 58, Sompal Kamo 48; Ravindra Jadeja 3-40, Mohammad Siraj 3-61) lost to India 147/0 in 20.1 ov (Rohit Sharma 74*, Shubman Gill 67*) by 10 wickets




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