Singapore, Aug 25 (): Indian opener KL Rahul scored unbeaten 93 off 107 balls to lead India Under-23 to an easy nine-wicket win over Pakistan Under-23, played at the Kallang Ground in the final of the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore today. The Indian team chased down the 160-run target in just 33.4 overs.
Pakistan skipper Hammad Azam won the toss and elected to bat first. Pakistan made a slow start making 31 off the first eight overs. Indian fast bowlers Sandeep Sharma and Sandeep Warrier struck in consecutive overs and Pakistan lost their both openers. Umar Waheed (41) and Usman Salahuddin (15) steadied the Pakistan innings with a fifty-plus stand for the third wicket but both fell in quick succession. From 95 for four, Pakistan lost five wickets in a quick succession to plunge to 107 for nine. The last-wicket pair of Usman Qadir (33) and Ehsan Adil (22) added a crucial 52 runs in 9.1 overs. They were bowled out for 159 runs in 47 overs with Baba Aparajit taking three wickets. Baba Aparajith was India’s most successful bowler with figures of 7-1-28-3.
Chasing an easy target of 160 runs from 50 overs, India suffered an early blow, losing Unmukt Chand who was caught by wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps off Raza Hasan for 15 runs. Opener Lokesh Rahul (93 not out) carried on his dazzling form supported by Manpreet Juneja (51 not out) scored unbeaten match-winning 132-run partnership for the second wicket. Rahul innings has 11 boundaries and one six. India reached the target with 98 balls remaining.
Pakistan U-23: 159 all out in 47 overs
(Umar Waheed 41, Usman Qadir 33; Baba Aparajith 3-28, Sandeep Sharma 2-20, Suryakumar Yadav 2-20)
India U-23: 160/1 in 33.4 overs
(KL Rahul 93 not out, Manprit Juneja 51 not out)
India won by nine wickets