Karan KC completed a five-wicket haul including a hat-trick and Dipendra Singh Airee scored a magnificent half century as Nepal defeated Papua New Guinea by 37 runs in the fourth match of the Tri-Nation's T20I Series here at the TU Stadium today.

Batting first, Nepal posted 203-7 in their allotted 20 overs riding on Airee's quick fire half century and some lusty strikes from debutante Mohammad Aadil Alam, Aasif Khan and Rohit Paudel.

KC then rattled the PNG innings with five-wicket haul including a hat-trick in the final over as the tourists were packed for 166 with two balls to spare. KC became the first Nepali bowler to take a hat-trick and complete five-wicket haul.

Nepal made a mediocre start with openers Kushal Bhurtel (17) and Aasif Sheikh scoring 44 runs in six overs.

Sheikh and Rohit Paudel then added 28 runs for second wicket, while Airee and Paudel shared a 51-run partnership for the third wicket. Airee combined with Aadil Alam in a 76-run stand for the fourth wicket to take the scores close to 200-run mark.

Airee and Alam collected 32 runs in the 19th over bowled by Nosaina Pokana. Alam struck a four in the first ball and hit three straight sixes included one in no ball before they ran for three runs in the fourth legal delivery. Airee then struck a six in the fifth ball, while he was caught at long off in the last ball of the over. Airee had hit Norman Vanua for three consecutive sixes and a four in the previous over.

Airee top scored with 66 off just 33 balls with the help of three fours and four sixes, while Paudel struck four boundaries and two sixes in his 23-ball 41. Sheikh scored 38 off 29 balls hitting four boundaries and a six, while debutante Alam struck a four and three sixes in his 11-ball 31. Kabua Morea took 3-29 for PNG, while Riley Hekure grabbed 2-22. Vanua (1-45) and Pokana (1-37) also pocketed one wicket each.

In reply, Nepal reduced PNG to 13-2 in 2.2 overs with Karan KC claiming both wickets in his first spell, before Charles Amini and Tony Ura added 84 runs for the third wicket. After Sompal Kami removed both of them, Norman Vanua and Sese Bau shared a 41-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

Abinash Bohara struck twice in the 18th over to remove of them and Chad Soper survived the hat-trick ball.

Karan KC grabbed three wickets in three balls in the final over. KC had Soper caught by Rohit Paudel in the second ball of the last over before he bowled Simon Atai in the next delivery, KC then had Pokana caught by Airee in the fourth ball. Player-of-the-match KC returned with the figures of 5-21, while Kami (2-34) and Bohara (2-34) shared four wickets between them. Skipper Sandeep Lamichhane bagged a wicket.

With their third straight victory, Nepal accumulated maximum six points and advanced to the final. Malaysia (two) are second, while PNG suffered to their third consecutive loss.

Malaysia will take on PNG on Friday, while Nepal face Malaysia in the last match of the league round on Saturday. The final is slated for April 4.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 1, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.