India beats Pakistan to reach final of Emerging Teams Asia Cup

Unbeaten fifties by Nitish Rana and Himmat Singh powered India to a seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the semifinal.

Nitish Rana put up a 126-run stand for the fourth wicket with Delhi team-mate Himmat Singh.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Unbeaten fifties by Nitish Rana and Himmat Singh powered India to a seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the semifinal of the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup here Thursday.

The Delhi duo added 126 runs for the fourth wicket after India was off to a jittery start, while chasing 173.

Rana scored 60 in as many balls, Himmat made 59 off 58 deliveries with India overhauling the target in 27.3 overs. Singh smashed five sixes including three successive ones off Mohammad Asgar, while Rana hit three maximums.

Winning the toss and inviting Pakistan to bat first, India bowled out Pakistan for 172 in 44.4 overs.

Captain and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan top-scored with 67, while Saud Shakeel contributed 62 runs. Opener Zeeshan Malik made 17 runs.

Legspinner Mayank Markande was the most successful bowler for India, returning figures of 4 for 38 in 9.4 overs.

India, placed in Group A defeated Afghanistan by 84 runs in its opening match and capped the group round with a six-wicket victory over Oman and a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

Pakistan started the tournament on a high, thrashing Hong Kong by 225-runs in its opening match. Pakistan then defeated United Arab Emirates (UAE) by nine wickets, but lost to Bangladesh on Sunday by 84 runs in its Pool B match to set up a semifinal clash with the arch-rivals.

A total of eight teams -- Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, India, Oman, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and UAE -- are participating in the tournament, which kicked off on December 6.

The final will be played here on Saturday.