Pallekele, Sep 4 (IANS) Unbeaten fifties by captain Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill powered India to the Super Fours stage of the Asia Cup with a ten-wicket thrashing of Nepal in their Group A match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Monday.
After Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj picked three wickets apiece while Aasif Sheikh and Sompal Kami played gusty knocks in guiding Nepal to a competitive 230, the rain stopped the proceedings for two hours. By then, India had reached 17 for no loss in 2.1 overs and the target was then revised to 145 in 23 overs as per DLS method when the game resumed after the lengthy break.
Rohit (74 not out off 59 balls) and Gill (67 not out off 62 balls) slammed whirlwind fifties while stitching an unbroken opening partnership to complete the chase with 17 balls to spare. While Sharma hit six fours and five sixes, Gill slammed eight fours and a six in ensuring India qualified for the next stage of the competition, making up for a sloppy fielding show and lacklustre bowling effort.
India’s chase began with Rohit Sharma being cautious and surviving an LBW appeal off Karan KC. At the other end, Gill stood outside his crease and crisply steered Sompal Kami for three off-side boundaries.
Just as Sharma broke the shackles by dancing down the pitch to hit Karan over mid-on for four, rain came pouring down and stopped the proceedings for nearly two hours. Post resumption, Gill danced down the pitch to slap through cover while Sharma scooped off Karan for another four.
Sharma showed signs of being the aggressor when he slog-swept Sandeep Lamichhane twice for a four and six respectively. After India reached their fifty in 7.5 overs, Lamichhane came under further attack from Gill, who danced down the pitch to lift him for six.
The leg-spinner came under further attack from Sharma, who pulled him for four and smashed a slog-sweep for six. The most amazing shot of the innings came from Sharma’s blade when he used his wrists to whip a flick against Dipendra Singh Airee for six.
Kami was re-introduced and Gill welcomed him by clipping him through backward square leg for four, followed by Sharma pulling him over mid-wicket for another boundary to reach his fifty. Sharma pulled Lalit Rajbanshi for another six, while Gill reached his fifty in the same fashion off Lamichhane for four.
Karan’s reintroduction didn’t change much as Sharma lofted him cleanly over long-off for six, before cutting off Gulsan Jha for four more. Gill then finished off the chase in style with a fine glance for four to seal India’s win.
Nepal 230 all out in 48.2 overs (Aasif Sheikh 58, Sompal Kami 48; Ravindra Jadeja 3-40, Mohammed Siraj 3-61) lost to India 147 for no loss in 20.1 overs (Rohit Sharma 74 not out, Shubman Gill 67 not out) by ten wickets via DLS method.