Kathmandu: Nepal lost to cricketing giants India by 23 runs in the quarter-finals of the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where Nepal put up a valiant effort.
In a thrilling T20 international showdown, Nepal faced off against cricket giants India for the first time.
Nepal’s batting effort saw them amass a total of 179 runs, albeit at the loss of nine wickets, in their pursuit of India’s imposing target of 203 runs within the stipulated 20 overs. The standout performances for Nepal included Dipendra Singh Airee, who top-scored with 32 runs off just 15 deliveries, featuring four powerful sixes. Kushal Malla contributed 29 runs off 22 balls with a combination of boundaries and sixes, while Kushal Bhurtel notched up 28 runs, and Sundeep Jora added a quickfire 29 runs off 12 balls.
India’s bowling attack was led by Ravi Bishnoi and Avesh Khan, each claiming three crucial wickets during their four-over spells, while Arshdeep Singh also managed to snatch two wickets for the Indian team.
Earlier in the match, India had won the toss and elected to bat, setting a formidable target of 202 runs for Nepal. Yashasvi Jaiswal was the standout performer for the cricket powerhouse, achieving a century in a scintillating fashion, scoring eight fours and seven sixes on his way to 202 runs off 49 balls. India finished their innings at 202 runs for the loss of four wickets in the allotted 20 overs.
For Nepal, Dipendra Singh Airee was the standout bowler, securing two wickets, while Sompal Kami and Sandeep Lamichhane contributed with one wicket each.
Nepal’s journey to the quarter-finals had been marked by impressive performances, including a record-breaking 273-run victory against international cricket newcomers Mongolia, followed by a convincing 138-run win over the Maldives in Group A.
Despite fielding a second-string team, India showcased their budding talents, including captain Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rinku Singh of Kolkata Knight Riders, Arshdeep Singh of Punjab Kings, and Yashasvi Jaiswal, who had previously scored a century in his Test debut against the West Indies in July.
This encounter marked the third meeting between Nepal and an Indian cricket team in just three months. Nepal had previously faced India A, suffering a nine-wicket loss in the ACC Men’s Emerging Cup on July 17, followed by a 10-wicket defeat against India’s premier team featuring stars like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the Asia Cup 2023 Group A match on September 4.