India U-19 ride on Rishabh Pant's record-breaking innings to decimate Nepal U-19
The India Under-19 continued their excellent run at the Under-19 World Cup as they annihilated the Nepal Under-19 squad to win their final game of the group stages by seven wickets. India chased down a target of 170 in just 18.1 overs after the openers got the Indian colts off to an unbelievable start.
Rishabh Pant was the main enforcer as he attacked right from the word go while his captain, Ishan Kishan took his time to settle down before taking the bowlers on. The Nepalese bowlers had no answers to the Indian batting onslaught as they used seven bowlers.
India U-19 won the toss and elected to field and put in an excellent bowling performance to restrict the Nepal U-19 batsmen to just 169/8 in 48 overs. The match was reduced to 48 overs after a delayed start due to fog.
The Nepalese youngsters failed to get going as the Indian picked wickets at regular intervals and gave their opponents no chance to get going. Opening batsman, Sandeep Sunar was the top-scorer for Nepal U-19 as he made 37 off 73 balls. A late attack from tailender, Prem Tamang helped Nepal score 23 runs in the last two overs.
Avesh Khan was the pick of the bowlers for India as he picked up three wickets and gave away only 34 runs in the eight overs he bowled. Mayank Dagar and Washington Sundar picked up two wickets each.
In reply, Pant and Kishan got India off to an incredible start as they took advantage of the fielding restrictions and clobbered the Nepalese bowlers. Pant went on to score the fastest Under-19 fifty as he reached the 50-run mark in just 18 balls.
Pant, however, did not stop there and continued his attacking batting style and perished trying to slog a straighter delivery. He departed after making an astonishing 78 off just 24 balls, a knock that included nine fours and five sixes. Pant and Kishan put in a partnership of 124 in just 9.1 overs, setting the perfect platform for a comfortable chase.
Although Kishan took some time to get going, he picked up the pace and also reached his fifty. His 40-ball 52 included seven fours and three sixes. Ricky Bhui was not able to stick around for too long and perished for 7 after getting a leading edge.
India Under-19's most consistent batsman, Sarfaraz Khan and Armaan Jaffer, the son of former Indian cricketer Wasim Jaffer, guided India home and made sure there were no hiccups in the chase.
Sarfaraz Khan and Jaffer scored unbeaten knocks of 21 and 12 respectively and helped India U-19 reach the target with 187 balls remaining, thus making a mockery of the target set by the Nepal U-19 side.
India top the Group D table after having won all three of their games in the World Cup so far. Nepal is the other team to qualify from Group D as New Zealand and Ireland are knocked out.
Brief Scores: India U-19 (toss) 175/3, 18.1 overs (Pant 78, Kishan 52; Tamang 2/41) beat Nepal U-19 169/8, 48 overs (Sunar 37, Rajbir Singh 35; Avesh Khan 3/34, Dagar 2/32, Sundar 2/20) by seven wickets.