HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Shakti Gauchan became the most economical bowler as Nepal hammered Malaysia by 10 wickets in the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division-IV Tournament at the Selangor Turf Club in Kuala Lumpur today.
After Malaysia elected to bat, Nepal bowled the hosts out for a paltry 69 runs in 32.1 overs before the Nepali openers raced to victory target in just 12.2 overs to register the third consecutive victory. Nepal’s 10-wicket win is first against Malaysia.
Shakti stole the limelight with his magical bowling performance. The left-arm spinner took three wickets conceding just two runs in his 10-over spell that included eight maiden overs. The economy rate of 0.2 runs per over is the best by any bowler in limited-over matches. Phil Simmons of the West Indies had the best economy rate of 0.30 in an innings with the figures of 10-8-3-4 against Pakistan in Sydney in 1992. However, the list of records by popular cricket website — cricinfo — has included the bowlers having bowled at least 30 balls (five overs) in an innings.
“I do not think much about my performance before the game, but my objective is to bowl in the right area which I did during the game and it turned out to be my best bowling performance,” Shakti told the ICC after the match.
In reply, the Nepali openers Subash Khakurel and Anil Mandal were not troubled by Malaysian bowlers. They reached home safely in just 12.2 overs with Subash hitting the winning boundary. He remained unbeaten on 24 off 34 balls including four boundaries, while other opener Anil struck six fours in his 40-ball 41. This is the first time Nepali openers put on half century stand in the tournament.
Skipper Paras Khadka added: “It was another great bowling display from the team, especially from (Shakti) Gauchan and the other opening pairs. Although we had a small target to chase, I am happy with the batting performance of the openers as they won the match for us convincingly. We still can’t relax after this win and will work hard to win the rest of our matches.”
Earlier, paceman Amrit Bhattarai jolted the Malaysian innings with a twin blow in two consecutive balls in the fifth over after the hosts had put on 16 runs on the board. He trapped Rakesh Madhavan (2) leg before the wicket to give Nepal an early breakthrough with the fifth ball and made it two in two in the next ball by trapping Suhan Alagaratnam for a naught.
Veteran Binod Das trapped Hammad Ullah Khan in the next over to make it 16-3 in the next over. Ahmed Faiz and Shafiq Sharif — the only two Malaysian batsman to have scored runs in double figures – added 36 runs for the fourth wicket. Basant Regmi separated the pair in the 12th over dismissing Faiz (13) and the Malaysian innings collapsed again. By the time Regmi had Shafiq caught by skipper Paras Khadka in the 14th over, the hosts were reeling at 53-5.
Shakti and Basant then combined to bowl 10 overs conceding just five runs. The duo rattled the tail order and the last five wickets fell for just 16 runs before the Malaysian innings folded for a meagre 69 runs in the 33rd over. Shakti — who bowled 41 consecutive dot balls — was not just economical but also the pick of the Nepali bowlers with 3-2. He was ably supported by Basant (3-12) — who took his tally to nine wickets to stay atop the highest wickettaker’s list. Amrit returned with 2-19, while Binod and Sanjam Regmi pocketed one apiece.
In other matches, Singapore (174-6) produced a shock four-wicket victory over high-flying Denmark (173), while the USA (93-3) defeated Tanzania (92) by seven wickets. The results meant Nepal maintained their top position with six points. USA, Denmark and Singapore all have four points, while Tanzania and hosts Malaysia are yet to open their accounts. The top two teams will earn promotion to WCL Division-III apart from the place in the championship match, while the bottom two will be relegated to Division-V.
Nepal will take on the USA at the Kinrara Oval on Friday. In other matches, Malaysia will play against Denmark and Singapore face Tanzania.