India face Nepal in their upcoming Asia Cup 2023 Group A fixture, at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on Monday. Rohit Sharma and Co. haven’t yet registered a win in this campaign, after their opener against Pakistan was called off due to rain.
Batting in the first innings, India were bowled out for 266 in 48.5 overs. But rain played spoilsport as the second innings couldn’t take place and both teams shared a point apiece. India had a top-order collapse and should consider themselves lucky as the run-chase was prevented by rain. Openers Rohit and Shubman Gill were dismissed for 11 and 10 respectively. Rohit fell to Shaheen Shah Afridi and Gill was dismissed by Haris Rauf.
Meanwhile, Shaheen built on his strong start and removed Virat Kohli for four runs off seven deliveries. Shreyas Iyer, who was making his comeback after a lengthy absence due to injury, was also dismissed for 14 off nine balls by Rauf.
Middle order batters Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya rebuilt for India with gritty knocks, missing out on centuries. Kishan smacked 82 runs off 81 balls, packed with nine fours and two sixes. Meanwhile, Pandya clattered 87 runs off 90 deliveries, including seven fours and a maximum. For Pakistan’s bowling department, Shaheen Afridi took four wickets, Naseem Shah and Rauf scalped three dismissals each.
Nepal are currently bottom of Group A after losing to Pakistan in the tournament opener. Centuries by Babar Azam and Iftikhar Ahmed helped Pakistan seal a huge 238-run victory.
Against Nepal, India are expected to once again go with Rohit and Shubman as the openers. The pair disappointed against Pakistan’s pace battery, but could surely get some runs against Nepal and will also boost their confidence. Kohli will be at no. 3, and against Pakistan, he started his innings with a stunning cover drive. But that proved to be his only playing shot. He will look to bounce back against Nepal and needs only 98 to complete 13,000 ODI runs.
Shreyas Iyer failed in his comeback, but hit two good fours during his short knock. He is expected to retain his place and will look to get his confidence back. Kishan and Pandya were key for India in the middle order against Pakistan and rebuilt from a paltry score. They will once again be key for India. Pandya will also need to contribute with the ball. Ravindra Jadeja will join Pandya in the all-rounder slot and his multi-dimensional style of play will come handy. He will share his spin duties with Kuldeep Yadav, who complete the tailenders with Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami. Shami was dropped in the previous game for Thakur, but is expected to return. He will replace Jasprit Bumrah. Bumrah will be mising in action as he had to fly back to Mumbai due to personal reasons.
India’s predicted XI vs Nepal in their Asia Cup 2023 match:
Top-order: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli
Middle-order: Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (W/K)
All-rounders: Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja
Bowlers: Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami