Take care!: Games volunteers warn fans as Jaiswal smashes India to win

HANGZHOU: Asian Games volunteers warned spectators to beware of sixes as opening batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal smashed his way to a 48-ball century, helping India to a 23-run win over Nepal in their debut in the men's cricket tournament today.

India are mad about the sport but it is barely seen in China, hence reminders to the locals to keep a watchful eye during the Twenty20 international at the picturesque university ground in the Hangzhou suburbs.

Volunteers walked through the terraces shouting, "Be careful of the ball," and carried signs in Chinese saying: "Take care to avoid".

As well they might, with Jaiswal clobbering seven sixes before falling for 100, helping India put 202 for four on the board.

Nepal number five Dipendra Singh Airee, who scored the fastest fifty in T20 internationals against Mongolia last week, then got in on the act, smashing three sixes in as many balls in his 15-ball 32 during the team's chase.

Soon after, a message rang out from the loudspeaker repeating the public health warning, adding: "Don't catch the ball".

India's best players are at home preparing for the 50-overs World Cup, still the sport's most prestigious trophy despite a decline in interest in the format.

Yet there is pride at stake in Hangzhou for the second-string squad representing the cricket superpower for the first time at the Games.

India's women cantered to gold last week with victory over Sri Lanka in the final, putting pressure on the men to follow suit.

Having shunned past Asian Games, India's debut has been a coup for Hangzhou where cricket has returned to the programme after being dropped for Jakarta in 2018.

Though only a few hundred spectators were present at the Zhejiang University of Technology venue, the match was beamed live into India, with Sony carrying the game on its digital and TV platforms.

There is no shortage of quality in the Indian squad, either, with 21-year-old lefthander Jaiswal among a slew of players with international experience and top form in the Indian Premier League, the world's premier domestic T20 competition.

Having set several records against Mongolia, Nepal went down with all guns blazing -- Karan KC smashing Shivam Dube for a six with the last ball.

Whether supporting the underdog or any team that is not India, a nation China has long had fraught relations with, Chinese fans chanted "Add oil, Nepal!" -- "Come on!" in the local parlance.

It was all in vain, though, as India bowlers Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh took five wickets between them, combining to tear the heart out of Nepal's innings and set up a semi-final against either Bangladesh or Malaysia.

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