India Under-23s registered their second consecutive victory by a comfortable 84-run margin against Nepal on Tuesday (August 20), to all but secure qualification from Group A for the semifinal of the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup at The Padang in Singapore.
India U-23s, who had got the better of Pakistan U-23s by three wickets in their opening match on Sunday, were far more convincing in their second encounter, piling up 268 for 5 after being put in and restricting Nepal to 184 for 8.
Suryakumar Yadav, the skipper, was named the Man of the Match for an all-round performance. Yadav smashed a 39-ball 65 with eight fours and two sixes to provide the Indian innings the impetus, then came back to take 1 for 21 from eight overs of tidy medium pace to cut out all escape routes for an outclassed Nepal.
It was KL Rahul and Unmukt Chand, the openers, who set the foundation for the big Indian tally, putting on 118 even if they scored at just over four runs an over. Chand was the first to go, caught behind off Shakti Gauchan, the leg-spinner, for 61 off 77 deliveries with four fours and three sixes. Rahul's was a more measured innings but, as he closed to within two hits of a century, he was dismissed by Basant Regmi, the left-arm spinner, for 88.
Manprit Juneja failed to make a worthwhile contribution but Yadav cut loose in spectacular fashion as he found the boundary with great regularity. Regmi was the one who suffered the most, conceding 90 runs in his 10 overs even though he picked up three wickets. India U-23s added 107 in the last 13 overs with Yadav doing the bulk of the scoring and Ankit Bawne making 25.
Nepal were never in the hunt though each of the top four got into double figures. Their rate of scoring seldom breached the four-run mark and India U-23s kept making repeated inroads. It was left to Sagar Pun, batting at No. 9, to give the final total some respectability. Pun remained undefeated on 52 off 61 deliveries with seven fours but it was an effort that only reduced the margin of defeat.
Bawne was India U-23s most successful bowler, taking 3 for 36 with his offbreaks while Jaspreet Bumrah, the right-arm medium pacer, picked up 2 for 35 and Sandeep Warrier returned brilliant figures of 2 for 7 from four overs.
In a Group B match, Sri Lanka U-23s rode on a century by Shehan Jayasuriya, the opener, to get the better of the United Arab Emirates by 30 runs. After making 235 for 8 from their 50 overs, Sri Lanka U-23s overcame spirited resistance from the top order to keep the UAE down to 205 for 9.
Brief scores: India U-23s 268/5 in 50 overs (KL Rahul 88, Unmukt Chand 61, Suryakumar Yadav 65, Ankit Bawne 25; Basant Regmi 3-90) bt Nepal 184/8 in 50 overs (Subash Khakurel 29, Sagar Pun 52; Jasprit Bumrah 2-35, Ankit Bawne 3-36, Sandeep Warrier 2-7) by 84 runs.
Sri Lanka U-23s 235/8 in 50 overs (Udara Jayasundera 38, Shehan Jayasuriya 101; Nasir Aziz 3-39) bt UAE 205/9 in 50 overs (Shaiman Anwar 53, Saqib Ali 71; Lahiru Jayaratne 3-36, Charith Jayampathi 2-41, Chathuranga Kumara 2-30) by 30 runs.