Asian Games 2023: The likes of Kushal Bhurtel, Kushal Malla, Deependra Airee and Sundeep Jora are blessed with talent
Yashasvi Jaiswal (Pic: File Pic)
Asian Games 2023: Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed a blistering hundred to lead India to the Asian Games 2023 semifinals but cricketers from Nepal showed a lot of promising efforts by putting up a fearless fight in their 23-run defeat here on Tuesday. Jaiswal, Indian cricket's new pin-up boy, earned the distinction of being the youngest T20I centurion from the country en route to his 49-ball-100 that took India to a healthy 202 for 4.
The men from the Himalayan nation made a match of it but lack of experience became their undoing as their innings ended at 179 for 9, ensuring a last-four spot for Ruturaj Gaikwad's men.
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No praise would be enough for the Monty Desai-coached Nepalese side as the smaller ground dimensions helped them embarrass two Indian pacers Arshdeep Singh (2/43) and Avesh Khan (3/32), who gave away 75 runs in their 8 overs.
There is one piece of statistics that will certainly annoy head coach VVS Laxman. India, in all, hit 12 sixes but Nepal batters surpassed them with 14 maximums.
Asian Games 2023 Indian skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad admitted it wasn't their best day. He was also not surprised by Nepal's gritty performance.
"Not really. They are an international side backed up with international experience, having played tournaments like Asia Cup with all the main teams. They have scored around 250 runs against India, the main side, as well. They are a good side so were not really surprised with how they came (at us)."
Centurion Jaiswal was expectedly pleased with his batting.
"I'm just so glad and happy to represent India and proud of myself for going out there to express myself and my game. I didn't think for that (century). At the start I had some plans. I was just trying to play all my shots and making sure that the run rate was high even when I had played only a few," he said.
It was debutant left-arm spinner R Sai Kishore (1/25) and IPL star Ravi Bishnoi (3/24) who actually controlled the middle overs to save India from what could have been an upset.
The likes of Kushal Bhurtel, Kushal Malla, Deependra Airee and Sundeep Jora are blessed with talent and hopefully, the global cricket establishment will give them enough exposure to consistently challenge heavyweights like they did this day.
Against better teams like Bangladesh or Pakistan, the Indian pacers, who bowled too full or too short will be in trouble keeping the ridiculously short side boundaries into account.
But nothing can take the credit away from 21-year-old Jaiswal, who enthralled the crowd with eight fours and seven sixes.
There was slog sweep off pacers and spinners, the pick-up pull behind square, the square cuts, the heave over cow corner and the deftly executed lap shot over the keeper's head to reach to 99 before a single took him to the milestone.
Credit should also be given to Rinku Singh, who once again enjoyed his role as a finisher with 37 off 15 balls, including 20-odd in the final over which made the difference in the end.
India 202/4 in 20 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 100 off 49 balls, Rinku Singh 37 not out off 15 balls, Sandeep Lamichhane 1/28, DS Airee 1/31)
Nepal: 179/9 in 20 overs (DS Airee 32 off 15 balls, Ravi Bishnoi 3/24, Avesh Khan 3/32)
(With Agency Inputs)