India U23s kick off with win over Pakistan U23s
The Indian U23 contingent began their campaign in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup with a 3-wicket victory over Pakistan U23s in a 50-over match in Singapore on Sunday.
After winning the toss, India U23s opted to bowl, handing a List A debut to young Jasprit Bumrah. The Indian bowlers were spot on from the beginning, as pacer Sandeep Sharma (2/39) dismissed opener Babar Azam (2) in the 3rd over. Sandeep Warrier (3/32) then bowled an impressive spell, picking quick wickets of Azeem Ghumman (3) and Bilawal Bhatti (7). By the end of the 10th over, Pakistan U23s were tottering at 22/3. However, Umar Waheed (46) and Usman Salahuddin (61) put up an 85-run partnership for the 4th wicket, steadying their team’s ship for a while.
Akshar Patel (1/35) was then introduced into the attack and the move paid off as he got rid of Waheed, getting a much needed breakthrough for his side. Sharma was brought back and he had Mohammad Nawaz (3) caught at long-on, further reducing Pakistan to 121/5. Hammad Azam (13) was run-out by skipper Suryakumar Yadav and Pakistan were 6 down even before reaching the 150-run mark.
Salahuddin, who had settled at the crease, tried to take his side to a competitive score along with Mohammad Rizwan (25), but was dismissed by a comeback spell from Warrier, who had him caught at covers. At the end of 50 overs, Pakistan U23s managed to reach a total of 191/7.
The Indian chase started off swiftly with openers KL Rahul (46) and Unmukt Chand (61) adding 84 runs for the 1st wicket, before Rahul was bowled by Mohammad Nawaz (2/42) in the 26th over. Manprit Juneja (11) departed soon after, as Raza Hasan (3/39) bowled him through the gate. Chand was then caught at point off Hasan’s delivery after a well-deserved fifty. Captain Suryakumar Yadav (13) followed as he was trapped in front by Bilawal Bhatti (23) and India U23s were reeling at 144/4 in the 39th over.
Ankit Bawne (5) too, couldn’t hold on as he fell to Nawaz, leaving India U23s in a bothering state, followed by Akshar Patel (5) who was removed by Ehsan Adil (1/32). However, thanks to Baba Aparajith (13*) and Ashok Menaria (18), India U23s comfortably chased down the target inside 48 overs, registering their first victory in the tournament.
With 2 points on the table, India U23s take on Nepal in their next game on August 20.