Opener Arjun Azad smashed an unbeaten half-century as India beat Kuwait in their group game of the Under-19 Asia Cup in Colombo on Thursday.

Azad’s half-century was the first in the eight nation tournament as India chased down a target of 112 runs with more than three overs to spare.

India v Kuwait
Winners - India

The game was reduced to 23 overs due to rain and wet outfield and India scored the winning runs just before another heavy shower at the Sri Lankan capital’s beautiful Colombo Cricket Club ground.

Azad was dropped twice during his knock.  He was on 32 when wicketkeeper Meet Bhasvar put down a regulation catch off Faez Ahmed Qureshi. Then on 49 he was dropped at covers by Akhil Nair with Umar Abullah being the unlucky bowler.

If not for the fielding lapses, Kuwait could have given India a close fight.

In fading light, India had to score quickly and captain Dhruv Jurel wasted no time depositing the first legal delivery he faced for six over long-on. He cleared the boundary for a second time in the over bowled by Aamir Ali and was caught at long-on attempting another big hit in the next over.

Azad was named Man of the Match for his unbeaten 60 that came off 58 deliveries with five fours and two sixes.

India restricted Kuwait for 110 for seven after opting to bowl first. Kuwait openers – Meet Bhavsar (28) and Gokul Kumar (25) added 54 runs for the first wicket. In search of quick runs, they lost too many wickets as Akash Singh and Purnank Tyagi picked up three wickets apiece.

India were sharp on the field and pulled off some good catches.

Kuwait surprised many followers of the game by qualifying for the tournament and proved that with regular exposure they could go onto become a force to be reckoned with. This tournament will prove to be a good exposure for their young talents.

India didn’t field their full strength team and will play their best side in Saturday’s high profile game against Pakistan at Moratuwa. Thursday’s seven wicket win over Kuwait is a nice start for them and with Pakistan already losing their opening game to Afghanistan, they will be looking to finish top of the table.

The defending champions who have won multiple Undre-19 Asia Cup tournaments look to be well organized. They are carrying eight support staff with them apart from the three selectors on tour.

Thu 5-Sep

India v Kuwait at CCC
India won the toss and elected to field
Kuwait: 110 for 7 off 23 overs (Akash 3-22, P.Tyagi 3-28)
India: 114 for 3 off 19.1 overs (A.Azad 60*)
Man of the Match: Arjun Azad (India)


Tournament page

Filed September 5th, 2019