India 202 for 4 (Jaiswal 100, Rinku 37*, Airee 2-31) beat Nepal 179 for 9 (Airee 32, Jora 29, Avesh 3-32, Bishnoi 3-24) by 23 runs
Nepal eventually ended with 179 for 9, bowing out with a creditable performance to culminate a dream run that took them to the World Cup Qualifiers, Asia Cup and now the Asian Games.
Gaikwad fights, Jaiswal flies
India opted to bat and immediately discovered the surface wasn’t easy for stroke-making. Deliveries were holding on, there was spongy bounce and batters couldn’t waltz through the line. Yet, Jaiswal took the pitch out of the equation – cutting, pulling and muscling monstrous sixes down the ground. When he brought up his fifty off his 22nd delivery, Ruturaj Gaikwad was on 14 off 17, having survived a couple of lbw shouts and looking increasingly edgy to get the release shot. At 96 for 0 in nine overs, India had the platform.
Rinku plays finisher
Shivam Dube kept churning the strike to Jaiswal, who brought up his hundred off 48 deliveries. A scoop that nearly carried all the way had him celebrating the landmark with gusto, only for the umpires to signal a four which meant he needed one more. He nudged the next one into the leg side to quietly celebrate again. One ball later, he was out slicing a full toss from Airee to short third. At 16.2 overs, India were 150 for 3. Rinku, like those who came before him, took a while to get going, but found his hitting range soon after. From 7 off 7, he muscled three sixes and two fours to finish 37 off 15 as India ended with 202 for 4; Dube’s contribution a steady 25.
Teary-eyed Sai Kishore makes a mark
When the national anthem played, Sai Kishore couldn’t hold back his tears, but with the ball in hand, he bowled with the experience of a veteran. He cleverly varied his pace and angles from around the wicket to deny Kushal Bhurtel and Kushal Malla. His first two overs cost just eight, and in his third, he had his maiden T20I wicket when Bhurtel, who was living quite dangerously, picked out short fine leg in trying to scoop a delivery that didn’t have enough pace. Over the next couple of overs, Nepal would lose two more to Bishnoi to throw the innings into a freefall.
Airee, Jora give Nepal hope
Even as India’s spinners had the wood over the batters, the seamers kept spraying the ball around. Airee took Dube to the cleaners for a sequence of 0,6,6,6,2,1 in the 14th over to ignite Nepal’s hopes of a heist. They needed 83 off six overs with six wickets in hand. But Bishnoi had Airee dragging a length ball that bounced a bit more than he anticipated, to long-on. When Jora fell for a 12-ball 29 in the next, you sensed the game was all but done. The lower order then had some fun as Arshdeep and Avesh lost their lengths, but by then it was only a question of how close Nepal would come.
Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo