By A Staff Reporter , Kathmandu, Apr. 23 : Nepal shone with both bat and ball as the host bested Malaysia by 69 runs in the last league match of the Tri-Nation Twenty20 International Series at TU Cricket Ground, Kiritpur on Thursday.
The result meant Nepal would go to the final against the Netherlands on Saturday as the group winner. Nepal regained the top spot after claiming six points from three wins and one loss. The Netherlands finished second with four points and Malaysia returned home with one point at the table.
Put in to bat first, host Nepal rallied to post their second-biggest 217 for 7, thanks to blistering batting from Karan KC, Captain Gyanendra Malla and Aasif Sheikh.
Sompal Kami, Sandeep Lamichhane and Kamal Singh Airee picked three wickets each as Malaysia caved in for 148 runs with five balls to spare.
The 18-ball 41 cameo of Aminuddin Ramly and 21-ball 31 contributions from Skipper Ahmad Faiz tried to keep Malaysia’s run chase alive but succumbing to Nepali bowlers in a dead rubber match sent them packing without a win.
Pacer Kami put the visitors in early trouble by sending Syed Aziz (4) and Anwar Arudin (6) in 2.3 overs. Player of the match Kami made Dhivendran Mogan (2) his third victim in 17.2 overs.
Malaysia reeled to 65/5 after Sushan Bhari (1-35) claimed the wicket of Captain Faiz in 7.2 overs and Airee got rid of Sharvin Muniandy (3) in 8.2 overs for his maiden T20I wicket.
Airee marked his T20I debut with a figure of 3-16. He cleaned up Virandeep Singh (18-ball 13) for his second wicket and Muhammad Wafiq (10-ball 12) for his third.
Playing his 100th T20 match, leggie Lamichhane, most wicket-taker for Nepal, took his T20I wicket tally to 45. He dismissed the important wicket of Ramly, removed Fitri Sham in a return catch and bowled out Ainool Hafizs (13-ball 11) to unsettle the Malaysian batting.
Earlier, Opener Aasif Sheikh and Skipper Gyanendra Malla shrugged off the loss of Kushel Bhurtel as they made a light work of Malaysian bowlers to add 76-run for the second wicket before the latter succumbed to Anwar Rahman (2-37) in 11.1 over. Malla’s attacking stroke-play of 25-ball 41 included 4 maximums and one boundary.
After four balls, Sheikh also followed Malla back to the hut as he too was trapped off Rahman. Sheikh pummelled three balls over the fence and three balls to the rope to collect 42 runs off 32 deliveries.
Opener Bhurtel, looking for his fourth consecutive T20I half-century, was out leaving Nepal 33/1. After hitting two maximums, Bhurtel (12-ball 16) holed out to Syed Aziz off Muhammad Wafiq (1-46) in the 4.1 over.
Dipendra Singh Airee with his aggressive knock of 17-ball 33 took Nepal’s score from 111/3 to 148 before being the second victim to bowler Sham (2-32) in the 16th over.
After making Binod Bhandari (8) catch out by Muniandy in the 15.2 over, Sham got rid of Airee at the hand of Anwar Arudin at short third as Nepal tottered to 148/5 in 15.4 overs. Airee’s quick-fire consisted of one maximum and five boundaries.
KC, coming at number 7, left Malaysian bowlers bruised and battered as his whirlwind knock of 13-ball 45 helped Nepal posted their second-biggest total in the Twenty20 Internationals.
Before being holed out to Rahaman off Aziz (2-4) in 19.1 over in his attempted big shot, KC blazed away with four sixes off Mogan (0-63) in the 18th over and two maximums off Muniandy (0-30) in the 17th over to help Nepal post an imposing total.
Kushal Malla hit two balls for six to remain not out with 10-ball 19 and tail-ender Kami (2) was trapped for lbw in the last ball by Aziz.