India opt to bowl against Nepal with rain threatening

Nepal's captain Rohit Paudel (L) walks with India's captain Rohit Sharma before the start of Asia Cup 2023 cricket match between India and Nepal at the at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy on September 4, 2023AFP

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bowl against minnows Nepal on Monday, with rain threatening to spoil the Asia Cup group match.

India's opening match against Pakistan was abandoned due to rain after just one innings. A win or a washout would qualify the Asian giants for the Super Four stage of the 50-over tournament, which is being seen as a tune-up ahead of October's ODI World Cup.

India made one change, with Mohammed Shami coming in for Jasprit Bumrah, who flew home to be with his wife for the birth of their son.
Rain began to fall at the ground in Sri Lanka's Pallekele just as Rohit spoke at the toss, with ground staff running to cover the pitch, but the sun soon came out.

The Asian Cricket Council is reportedly looking to move upcoming matches that were slated for Sri Lanka's rain-hit capital Colombo to a different venue, with Pallekele in the hills near Kandy one of the alternate choices.
Nepal lost the tournament opener to co-hosts Pakistan, but the up-and-coming cricketing nation has relished the opportunity of playing against the game's big guns.

"Today is the biggest day for Nepal cricket, a great opportunity to showcase our skills in front of the cricket world", Nepal skipper Rohit Paudel said.

Nepal made one change, with Bhim Sharki replacing Aarif Sheikh.

India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami.

Nepal: Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh (wk), Rohit Paudel (capt), Bhim Sharki, Sompal Kami, Gulsan Jha, Dipendra Singh Airee, Kushal Malla, Sandeep Lamichhane, Karan KC, Lalit Rajbanshi.

Umpires: Paul Wilson (AUS), Ruchira Palliyaguruge (SRI)

TV Umpire: Richard Illingworth (ENG)

Match Referee: Javagal Srinath (IND)