Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ravi Bishnoi were the stars for India as they clinched a 23-run victory over Nepal in the Asian Games quarter-final on Tuesday and secured a spot in the semi-finals of the men's competition. India now await the winner of the fourth quarter-final between Bangladesh and Malaysia.
Jaiswal creates history in Asian Games
Jaiswal became the youngest Indian to smash a century in T20 internationals, at the age of 21 years and 279 days. He surpassed Shubman Gill, who had scored a T20I ton earlier in 2023, aged 23 years and 146 days. Jaiswal has had a spectacular year, having lit up IPL earlier this year with 625 runs and scoring 171 on his Test debut in Dominica in July. Jaiswal put on an exhibition of batting in Hangzhou as he belted Nepal bowlers for eight fours and seven sixes on his way to a 48-ball century.
Jaiswal's madness could be summed up with the fact that the opening pair from India added 103 runs in 9.5 overs, out of which Ruturaj Gaikwad made 25 in 23. Tilak Varma and Jitesh Sharma also struggled to get going as India's innings derailed in the middle overs.
Rinku Singh backed Jaiswal's fireworks and provided the perfect finish for India, with an unbeaten 37 off just 15 deliveries which included four maximums. Thanks to the southpaw pair, The Men in Blue posted a big total of 202/4 in their 20 overs.
In response, Nepal were going at a slower rate than required but had avoided an early collapse. But in the 11th over, Bishnoi struck twice in three balls to remove a well-set Kushal Malla and captain Rohit Paudel.
Dipendra Singh Airee was looking threatening with his 32 runs off 14 balls but Bishnoi struck again to effectively kill the game. Bishnoi finished his four overs with three scalps while conceding just 24 runs.
Sundeep Jora tried to put life back into the game by hitting Arshdeep Singh for two sixes in the 16th over but holed out to long-on for a 12-ball 29. It was merely a formality after this point as India secured a comfortable victory in the end. Avesh Khan also bagged 3 for 32 in his four overs.
This was India's first match at the ongoing Asian Games men's cricket competition as they had directly qualified for the quarterfinals due to their ICC ranking. They have sent a secondary squad led by Ruturaj Gaikwad, with the main squad preparing for the much-awaited World Cup. India will play in the semifinals of the Asian Games on Friday, October 6th.
India 202/4 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 100, Rinku Singh 37*, Dipendra Singh Airee 2/31) beat Nepal 179/9 (Dipendra Singh Airee 32, Sundeep Jora 29, Ravi Bishnoi 3/24, Avesh Khan 3/32) by 23 runs.