Pakistan, Bangladesh also register comprehensive wins, while Afghanistan beats Sri Lanka by three wickets
India’s innings was driven by Akhil Herwadkar’s maiden century and a sparkling 65 off 47 balls by Sanju Samson, who was caught on the boundary by Chirag Suri while going for his third successive six in the penultimate over of the innings.
Herwadkar said he was happy to make the most of a typically friendly Sharjah batting track. “It was really good to make a century here as the batting conditions were very good,” said the Mumbai opener. “I haven’t been in great form so I am thankful to the support staff for helping me get this chance, and I have been really looking forward to batting in this Asia Cup.”
UAE’s chase never took off, with Deepak Hooda (4 for 21) and Aamir Gani (3 for 33) running through the side.
In the other Group A fixture, Pakistan also recorded a comprehensive win, beating Nepal by 132 runs, with Sami Aslam and Hasan Raza hitting centuries and Kamran Ghulam taking four wickets with his left-arm spin.
Batting first at the ICC Academy in Dubai, Pakistan lost Mohammad Umair early, but dominated thereafter. Aslam shrugged off the loss of his opening partner, and stayed till the 36th over for a run-a-ball 108 with six boundaries and four sixes. He was ably supported by Raza, who made 100 off 118 balls batting at No.3 as Pakistan put on 311 for 6.
Nepal got off to a steady start in a steep chase with openers Sunil Dhamala (39) and Amit Shrestha (60) putting on 76 runs. Two wickets fell in consecutive deliveries after that, but Shrestha and Bibhastu Thapa (22) got together for a 51-run third-wicket stand. However, no batsman could keep up with the required rate, and regular strikes by the bowlers meant Nepal ended with 179 for 7 in its 50 overs, with Ghulam returning 4 for 36.
In Group B, Bangladesh’s bowlers ensured another one-sided win, shooting out Malaysia for just 50 in 25.2 overs thanks to Abu Haider’s devastating spell of 5 for 8 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery 1 in Abu Dhabi. Mustafizur Rahman and Jubair Hossain also picked up a brace of wickets each.
Bangladesh completed the chase in just 10.2 overs, losing only one wicket, that of Zakir Hasan for 14.
The other match in Group B was the only one that didn’t have a one-sided result on Saturday, with Afghanistan overcoming Sri Lanka by three wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium Nursery 2 in Abu Dhabi.
Batting first, Sri Lanka got off to a steady start with openers Hashan Dumindu (61) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (31) putting on a 64-run stand, but Sri Lanka lost its way after that, with the middle-order not coming good. Priyamal Perera’s unbeaten 47 from No.6 took the side to 191 for 9, with Zia-ur-Rehman taking 5 for 33.
Afghanistan’s reply began well, with Shahidullah and Abdur Mangal putting on 63 for the opening wicket, but three quick strikes reduced the side to 78 for 3. A 48-run stand for the fourth wicket between Muslim Musa and Younas Ahmadzai put the chase back on track, before another flurry of wickets reduced Afghanistan to 165 for 7 after 44 overs. However, Nasir Ahmadzai, the captain, scored an unbeaten 28 and Sharafuddin Ashraf contributed a cameo 15 off 8 balls as Afghanistan got home with 15 balls to spare.