A nine-wicket win secured, India’s coach spent ten minutes talking with his captain Vijay Zol. Zol, nursing a tight hamstring, had walked off with an unbeaten half-century moments earlier but his coach Bharathi Arun obviously felt that India, in chasing 136, had chased at least 30 more than necessary. Nepal fought as well as they could in making 136 but India expects...

On another belter of a track at the ICC Global Cricket Academy, the same as the one used for 100 overs by Nepal and Pakistan yesterday, Nepal won the toss and chose to bat. Sunil Dhamal struck a fine straight drive to the sightscreen to get off the mark but Nepal hemorrhaged top-order wickets to India’s pacemen of whom Milind Chama was particularly impressive. A bit of late swing accounted for Amit Shrestha.

There was turn in the wicket too. Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav took three quick wickets to have Nepal 58 for 5 at the start of the 22nd over. “Our plan was to bat 50 overs again,” said Nepal’s coach Jang Bahadur Thapa. That looked a tall ask at this stage. However, with Bibhatshu Thapa and Arif Sheikh (who hit his first ball for a fine cover-driven 4), Nepal pulled things around. And set off the mental note-taking by India’s coach.

Arif Sheikh

Thapa and Arif put on 67 largely untroubled runs, India missed a couple of chances but like Pakistan yesterday, didn’t choose to impose themselves on Nepal as much as they could. The two young Nepalis, attacked everything pitched up and wide and at one stage, not only 50 overs but 170 looked on. A gem of a delivery from Yadav changed the course of the match however. Pitching on, or just outside leg, it spun away from the left-handed Thapa and had him stumped by inches. Thapa had made 47. From 125 for 5 in the 40th over, Nepal were all out for 136 five overs later. Kuldeep the pick of the Indian bowlers, turning it both ways, quite sharply at times, finished with 5-31.

Turning point - Bibhatshu Thapa is beaten on the way to being stumped

Nepal’s new ball bowlers showed talent against Pakistan, and showed it again today but India’s left-handed openers Herwadhkar and Zol were in a different class. Zol had the more steady start, but Herwadhkar, a century against UAE the day before, played some strokes of massive authority. Anything marginally overpitched was dispatched and the faster it came on to the bat, the faster it left. Timing of a kind that revealed the highest class. Herwadhkar was tested with the short ball too, and passed. One Lara-esque lash through cover rocketed through the field, and he timed one length delivery from Yagyamal Kumal that would still be travelling across the Gulf if a very sturdy picket fence at the GCA ground wasn’t in the way.

The young left-hander fell to Bhuban Karki for 71 with the game just about won, and Vijay Zol finished the game a few minutes later, his coach waiting for him. “The thing about cricket is, even for those who are close to the top, is that you’re always learning. Games like these are full of opportunities to test yourself no matter who you are, and given the improvement of the Associates you can’t take anything for granted,” said ACC Development Officer and also Match Refereee Iqbal Sikander in his post-match speech, before handing the Man of the Match award to young Kuldeep Yadav.

ACC U-19 Asia Cup 2014

Group A: India v Nepal at ICC GCA 1
Nepal won the toss and chose to bat
Nepal: 136 all out off 44.4 overs (B.Thapa 47, A.Sheikh 40; K.Yadav 5-31)
India: 140 for 1 off 25.1 overs (A.Herwadkar 71, V.Zol 61*)
Man of the Match: Kuldeep Yadav (India)

Tournament Page

Filed December 29th, 2013