Asia Cup 2023: Aasif Sheikh's fifty keeps Nepal in game as India make strong comeback after poor start

Aasif Sheikh scored 58 off 97 balls with the help of eight boundaries in his innings.

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Aasif Sheikh half-century.
Aasif Sheikh half-century. (Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

India and Nepal are taking on each other in Match 5 of the Asia Cup 2023 on Monday, September 04 at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele. India captain Rohit Sharma won the toss and invited Nepal to bat first. The decision, however, backfired as the opening duo of Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh got their team off to an explosive start by adding 65 runs for the first wicket off just 59 balls.

Bhurtel got dismissed after his brief innings of 38 off 25 balls however his opening partner Sheikh continued to hold one end and took the innings ahead. Sheikh was batting on 23 (34) at the time of Bhurtel’s dismissal but slowed down after wickets began falling regularly at the other end.

The 22-year-old steadily moved his innings forward and brought up his half-century in the 28th over with a single against Mohammed Siraj. However, the wicketkeeper-batter couldn’t continue for long as he got dismissed in the 30th over by Mohammed Siraj.

Sheikh got a leading edge on the fifth ball of the over which travelled straight to Virat Kohli who completed a stunning one-handed catch by jumping to his full height at short cover. As a result, the Nepalese opener departed for a well-made 58 off 97 balls smashing eight fours in his innings.  Notably, it was his tenth ODI fifty to go with one hundred in 43 matches of his career.

Ravindra Jadeja spins a web around Nepalese batters

Meanwhile, India finally managed to make a strong comeback in the game after the explosive opening partnership. Shardul Thakur once again emerged as the man with the golden arm as he dismissed Kushal Bhurtel (38 off 25) to give India their first breakthrough. Following that, Ravindra Jadeja spun a web around Nepalese batters and bowled a magnificent spell of 3/40 in ten overs to clean up the middle order. After 43 overs, Nepal were 197/7 with Sompal Kami 27 (40) and Sandeep Lamichhane 1 (6) at the crease.


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