The home team finishes at the top after league round of Tri-Nation T20I Series


Nepal defeated Malaysia by 69 runs in the last league match of the Bajaj Pulsar Tri-Nation T20I Series here at the TU Stadium today.

Invited to take the first strike, the home team posted 217-7 in their allotted 20 overs before packing Malaysia for 148 runs with five balls to spare. The third win in four matches meant Nepal finished first in the table with six points, while the Netherlands were second with five. Malaysia managed just one point from the drawn match against the Dutchmen. Nepal and the Netherlands have already made it to the final slated for Saturday.

On Thursday, Nepal made a mediocre start with openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh putting up 33 runs before the former was dismissed in the first ball of the fifth over. Bhurtel, who created world record with half centuries in his first three T20 International matches, fell for 16 off 12 balls that included two sixes when he was caught by Syed Aziz at first slip off Muhammad Wafiq. Sheikh and skipper Gyanendra Malla then steadied the ship with a 73- run partnership for the sec ond wicket before both the batsmen fell in the space of five runs. Sheikh struck three each fours and sixes in his 32-ball 42, while Malla scored a quick fire 41 off 25 balls hitting a boundary and four sixes.

Malaysia struck twice in the 16th over reducing Nepal to 148-5 after vice-captain Dipendra Singh Airee and wicketkeeper Binod Bhandari had added 37 runs for the fourth wicket. Airee scored 17-ball 33 with the help of five fours and a six, while Bhandari scored runa-ball eight.

Kushal Malla and Karan KC then added 66 runs for the sixth wicket to take the team score past 200-run mark for the second time in the tournament. KC hammered seven sixes in his 45 off just 13 balls, while Malla remained unbeaten on 10- ball 19. Syed Aziz, Fitri Sham and Anwar Rahman took two wickets each for Malaysia, while Muhammad Wafiq got one.

In reply, Malaysian batsmen failed to build partnerships and lost wickets at regular interval after the home side dismissed openers Syed Aziz and Anwar Arudin with just 15 runs on the board.

They shared two 40-plus stands but the Nepali bowlers were too hard to handle for the Malaysian batsmen and they could never threat the home side.

Aminuddin Ramly top scored for Malaysia with 41 off just 18 balls hitting a four and five sixes, while skipper Ahmad Faiz was the next best contributor with 21-ball 31 that included four fours and a six. Fitri Sham (14), Virandeep Singh (13), Muhammad Wafiq (12) and Ainool Hafizs (11) also scored in double figures but they failed to convert them into big knocks. Man-of-thematch Sompal Kami (3-20), Sandeep Lamichhane (3-42) and debutante Kamal Singh Airee (3-16) shared nine wickets among them for the home team, while Sushan Bhari claimed one.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.