A pat from Rahul Dravid does not come so easy. But on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur Nepal’s Under-19 team just received a strong vote of appreciation from Dravid after upsetting India in the Asia Cup. Dravid, who is India’s Under-19 coach, walked up to his counterpart Binod Kumar Das, former Nepal captain, to offer his congratulations and support, thereby injecting a heavy dose of motivation in the opposition dressing room.
“Dravid has been very humble. He congratulated us,” Das told ESPNcricnfo after the victory. “He said we deserved this win as much as anybody else. He also said we played better than anybody else in the tournament. We are happy he acknowledges our effort. We are thrilled to have his support with us.”
Das admitted that the 19-run win was the “biggest win for Nepal” in their short history. Prior to Sunday, Nepal hadn’t beaten India at any level. “In all fairness this has been a big win for us,” he said. “We are all very excited about it because we have never beaten India at any level. Knowing India’s strength, it is one of the biggest wins for us.”
According to Das, though Nepal’s total of 185 appeared small on paper, it was a “challenging” target on a pitch that assisted spin. Das said that his bowlers managed to assert themselves once they had a grip over the Indian batsmen after they were solid at 91 for 1. “We can take a lot of pride in fielding and also in our bowling. Today was another example of executing that. India got off to a good start, but we managed to pull them back.”
It was incredible victory keeping in mind how dominant India were in their 202-run thrashing of Malaysia in the tournament opener. But Das said that match was played on a flat pitch at Kinrara Oval. In contrast the Bayuemas Oval was a slow pitch.
Regardless of a small total and despite Indian openers getting off to a confident start, Das said Nepal did not lose the focus at any time. Leading the defense was Nepal captain Dipendra Singh Airee, who actually is a part-time off spinner.
“Dipendra is not our main spinner, but he has been pitching good areas in recently,” Das said. “He actually has been our stop-gap bowler but he was our best bowler today. Assisting him were our legspinner Sandeep [Lamichhanne], who has been bowling well throughout the tournament, and left-arm spinner Shahab Alam. Then Saraf, too, was accurate. It was a collective effort.”
It was not just the spinners that kept the pressure constant. Das acknowledged the contribution of his fast bowlers, too, who bounced back in their second spell during the latter half of the match. “Both Kishore [Mahato] and Kamal [Airee] made a good comeback in the latter half of the match which showed the depth of our bowling. It showed we could defend even a small target.”
Das pointed out Nepal’s bowlers had succeeded at attempting to defend a small total for the second day in a row. Against Bangladesh, on Friday at Kinrara Oval, Nepal set a target of 181 after the match had been reduced to 40 overs due to rain. Bangladesh needed 10 runs off the final two overs and secured the victory with one ball in hand. “So this victory against India has come as a big boost.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo