Asia Cup
Indian cricket squad on September 2, 2023, during their match versus Pakistan in the Asia Cup.

India, fresh off a washout, will play Nepal on Monday in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, hoping only to face inexperienced opposition and not rain as the heavyweights aim for a spot in the Super Four of the Asia Cup.

India, fresh off a washout, will play Nepal on Monday in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, hoping only to face inexperienced opposition and not rain as the heavyweights aim for a spot in the Super Four of the Asia Cup. Despite losing Saturday’s match against their bitter rivals, Pakistan (3 points) and India (1 point) have advanced from Group A to the Super Four. India may still make it to the Super Four with two points if tomorrow’s match is also rained off, although Rohit Sharma’s team would prefer to win.

India’s performance against Pakistan was encouraging, and the team will look to carry that momentum into the next stages of the competition when they will face much tougher opponents.

India’s score was brought down to 66/4 by Pakistan’s pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf in the 15th over. Having a jelly middle-order could have added to India’s concerns at that time.

Ishan Kishan was batting fifth for the first time in an ODI, and Hardik Pandya was never a good fit for the role of fireman.

Kishan and Pandya, despite their individual difficulties, put together a crucial 138-run partnership for the fifth wicket that helped India reach 266.

Kishan stood out in particular since he is at his best as an aggressive opener in the batting order.

So, there was some uncertainty as to whether Kishan could modify his batting style and attitude to better fit the No. 5 position.

He was superb in both respects. Kishan, a top-order hitter, struggled against pacers who manipulated the ball’s trajectory.

Kishan’s plan to escape the cage was to be aggressive rather than rely on his defense. But he had to take the offensive here.

Kishan was put to the test by Rauf, Afridi, and Naseem Shah, but he proved he had something to scratch with.

Kishan is eager to try out his new profile by scoring some runs against Nepal, despite the fact that their team is not as strong as Pakistan’s.

The management will also appreciate Pandya’s cool demeanor as he played second fiddle to Kishan and then switched to all-rounder duty when the left-hander was dismissed.

Pandya’s flexibility and lack of egotism would have been greatly appreciated by the think tank.

The management would like the top four (Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, and Shreyas Iyer) to get into ODI mode as soon as possible, despite the possibility that their poor performance against Pakistan’s pacers was an exception.

For the One-Day Internationals against the West Indies, Rohit and Kohli sat out, while Shreyas Iyer returned from an injury layoff.

The trio might find in Nepal the ideal opponents against which to gain experience and score some runs.

The team’s leadership, however, maybe a little dissatisfied because the bowlers never faced up against a formidable opponent in Pakistan.

The reaction of Jasprit Bumrah to having to bowl 10 overs and field for 50 overs would have been closely watched.

His performance against Nepal would have been closely watched, however, he is unable to play owing to personal circumstances.

The Nepalese team would like to hide their lack of cricketing pedigree behind their zeal, notwithstanding their opening-round loss to Pakistan by 238 runs.

Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and captain Rohit Paudel are their best bet for making an impact in the game.

In reality, however, they would be relieved to avoid major setbacks when playing a cricketing superpower like India.

Team India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.

Rohit Paudel (captain), Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh, Bhim Sharki, Kushal Malla, Aarif Sheikh, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gulshan Jha, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi, Pratish GC, Mousom Dhakal, Sundeep Jora, Kishore Mahato, and Arjun Saud represent Nepal in the field.

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