India vs Nepal: Preview and Prediction
The final league match of Group A will be held between India and Nepal. The game will be kicking off at The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy on Monday. Rohit Sharma & Co. would look to get going in the tournament with a win against their neighbors. The Indian Team has had a breath of fresh air with players returning from their respective injuries.
Jasprit Bumrah made a comeback in the recently concluded T20I series against Ireland, while KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer were declared match-fit and selected for the Asia Cup Squad. Under the leadership of Rohit Sharma, India would look to achieve continental glory as they prepare for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup.
In the opening encounter against Pakistan, India scored 266 in the first innings. The play was delayed due to rain, with the second innings called off without a ball bowled.
For Nepal, featuring in the Asia Cup alone is a monumental achievement. They have been placed alongside heavyweights India and Pakistan in Group A. Nepal has selected a very young squad for the Asia Cup, with just three players of 25 years or more getting a call-up. They are led by 21-year-old all-rounder Rohit Paudel. Sandeep Lamichhane has become a household name in Nepal Cricket and has an important match ahead of him.
As one would expect, Nepal got thrashed in their tournament opener against Pakistan. The Nepalese have all to play for in their final league game against India. A win would see them register an upset and qualify for the knockout rounds.
The Pallekele pitch usually has witnessed some high-scoring encounters in the past. It is very difficult to chase on this pitch. Teams winning the toss would prefer to bat first. The highest team score in ODIs at this location is 363/7, achieved by South Africa against Sri Lanka in 2018. The lowest score is 70/10, recorded by Zimbabwe against hosts Sri Lanka.
Out of the 35 ODI venues played at the venue, the team batting first won 17 matches. Sixteen encounters ended in the chasing team grabbing the win. The rest of the matches were declared as “No Result” due to unforeseen weather conditions.
What has happened so far?
India played out a No-Result encounter against Pakistan in their opening encounter of the tournament. After choosing to bat first, Rohit Sharma & Co. posted 266 runs in under 49 overs. Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya bailed out their colleagues after the top-order failed to perform against arch-rivals once again.
Rohit Paudel’s Nepal was dismantled in their opening group-stage game against Pakistan. The minnows were no match against a top-quality opposition in Pakistan. Chasing 343, Nepal got bundled up for 104 at a batting wicket in Multan. Neither their bowlers nor their batsmen had an outing to remember. 27-year-old speedster Sompal Kami ended with figures of 2/85 in ten overs before scoring 28 runs with the bat.
India has not played a single ODI match against Nepal. The teams have not even played in the T20 format. Their meeting in the Asia Cup on September 2 will be the first time the two sides will face each other. It would be a historic occasion for Nepal Cricket as they brace themselves to face the mighty Indians.
Virat Kohli (India): Virat Kohli could be vital for India against Nepal. It could be crucial if Virat could find his form against Nepal after getting dismissed for four runs against Pakistan. Virat, being at his best, would be India’s deadliest weapon going into the World Cup.
Virat has an impeccable record in Asia Cups, scoring over 600 runs in 12 matches. However, he would look to improve his record at the venue, having scored just 34 runs in four outings. He averages 8.5 in Kandy and has a high score of 23.
Sompal Kami (Nepal): The all-rounder was the best player for Nepal in their match against Pakistan. The 27-year-old picked up two wickets and scored 28 runs with the bat. Kami bowls in the powerplay for Nepal. It would be nothing better if he could pick a few wickets up top for Nepal.
India: Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma ©, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Nepal: Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh (wk), Rohit Paudel ©, Aarif Sheikh, Kushal Malla, Dipendra Singh, Gulsan Jha, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi
The quality levels of the squads suggest that India should win this encounter without a shadow of a doubt. The Indian team would look to register their first win of the tournament and get through to the knockout rounds. With household names coming back for India, there is little chance that Nepal would be able to cause an upset.
We also believe that the occasion of facing India could be playing on the minds of the Nepalese cricketers. They could crumble against India owing to more than one reason.