Hangzhou Asian Games | Jaiswal, Rinku, Bishnoi help India beat Nepal; Men in Blue reach semifinals

Rinku Singh once again revelled in his role as finisher with 37 off 15 balls, including 25 runs in the final over which made the difference in the end

October 03, 2023 10:49 am | Updated 12:39 pm IST - Hangzhou

Yashasvi Jaiswal plays a shot during the men’s quarter-final cricket match between India and Nepal at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on October 3, 2023.

Yashasvi Jaiswal plays a shot during the men’s quarter-final cricket match between India and Nepal at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on October 3, 2023. | Photo Credit: AFP

For a brief moment when Dipendra Singh got stuck into Shivam Dube in the 12th over of the chase, India would have felt Nepal breathing down behind it. Dipendra, who scored a nine-ball fifty against Mongolia last week, put Dube over the fence for three successive deliveries and was en-route to emulating his five consecutive sixes from that game. From needing 104 from 42 balls, Nepal now required 86 from 44, prompting skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad and Arshdeep Singh to converge towards the bowler’s mark.

Dube, who has previously conceded 34 runs in a T20I over, would have had nightmares, too, bowling in a field which had only 42-meter boundaries.

Luckily for him, Dipendra failed to put away a full toss and could only manage three runs from the next two balls before Ravi Bishnoi had the Nepal batter holing out in the deep in the next over. Then Arshdeep removed Sundeep Jora (29 off 12 balls) after being carted for two sixes, which ultimately ended Nepal’s hopes and paced the way for India’s 23-run win in the quarterfinal at the Pingfeng Cricket Campus on October 3.

On a pitch that offered little to no assistance to the fast bowlers, it was the Indian spinners — Bishnoi and R. Sai Kishore — who kept it tight and provided the crucial breakthroughs while defending 203. 

The leg-spin of Bishnoi accounted for three wickets, including those of T20I’s fastest centurion, Kushal Malla for 29, and the fastest scorer of fifty, Dipendra, for a 15-ball 32. Debutant Sai, who also took three superb catches in the deep, dismissed Kushal Bhurtel to finish with 4-0-25-1. Avesh Khan and Arshdeep, who conceded four sixes, cleaned up the lower order to seal India’s passage into the semifinals.

Having opted to bat, openers Ruturaj and Yashasvi Jaiswal (100 from 49) put on a 103-run stand inside 10 overs to set the platform for India. While Ruturaj found it tough to get the scoreboard ticking, Jaiswal continued his excellent year by racing off the blocks and getting to a 22-ball 50. He reached the mark with his fifth six of the morning. The southpaw was dismissive of both the fast bowlers and spinners and, especially, while striking big to the leg-side boundary.

Then Ruturaj fell in the 10th over, looking to hit Dipendra over the deep midwicket to only find the hands of skipper Rohit Paudel. But Jaiswal continued his onslaught and even put Abinash Bohra’s medium pace deliveries over deep mid-wicket and above the 100 feet boundary netting, and into the trees.

The teams from Japan, Cambodia and Malaysia were among the 1,000-plus people mixed with Indian, Nepalese and Chinese fans at the venue, who made the most of Jasiwal’s pyrotechnics. Jaiswal completed his hundred from 48 balls with a dab to the leg side for a single but got out immediately after looking to go big again of Dipendra’s off-spin. In between that, Tilak Verma, who was bowled for a 10-ball two, and Jitesh Sharma’s dismissal left India at 150-4 with 22 balls left in the innings.

But Dube and Rinku Singh, India’s find of the year, found the finishing touches in the end to take India over 200. Rinku went from a run-a-ball 7 to a 15-ball unbeaten 37 (2x4s, 4x6s) with the left-hander taking 25 runs from Bohara’s final over.

Brief scores:

India: 202/4 in 20 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 100 off 49 balls, Rinku Singh 37 not out off 15 balls, Sandeep Lamichhane 1/28, D.S. Airee 1/31)

Nepal: 179/9 in 20 overs (D.S. Airee 32 off 15 balls, Ravi Bishnoi 3/24, Avesh Khan 3/32).

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