Khadka record lifts Nepal over MalaysiansThe Nepali team captain scores 86 not out — the highest individual score for the country in Twenty20 Internationals.
Skipper Paras Khadka hit the highest score for Nepal in Twenty20 Internationals in a crushing seven-wicket victory over Malaysia in their first of the two-match series at the Kinrara Oval on Saturday.
After a collective bowling effort restricted Malaysia to 128-9 in 20 overs, Khadka led a perfect reply smashing a 50-ball 86 not out steering the team to 129-3 in 18.3 overs. After the continuous failures of different opening pairs, Khadka has been opening the innings for Nepal since the country’s 2-1 series triumph over the United Arab Emirates in February this year.
Nepal’s highest individual score in the Twenty20 Internationals was 56 from Subash Khakurel against Afghanistan during the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. Khadka’s highest score in Twenty20 is 87 which had also come against Malaysia during the 2013 ACC Twenty20 Cup in Kathmandu. Nepal’s highest Twenty20 score so far is 88 from Mehboob Alam scored against Saudi Arabia during the 2011 ACC Twenty20 Cup, also in Kathmandu.
Khadka, however, didn’t want to get carried away by the personal milestone. “More than individual celebration, we are happy to play as a team. I am happy to contribute to the team’s victory but there are other guys as well who can turn match winners for us when required. We have to play better than this, individually and as a team,” Khadka said.
Both Nepal and Malaysia are preparing for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Asia Regional Qualifier scheduled to begin from July 20 in Singapore. The second Twenty20 International is slated for Sunday at the same venue. “We are taking these two matches as a part of our preparation. Its good to play a couple of games before a major tournament and we are hopeful that we come back tomorrow (Sunday) and get even better,” added Khadka.
The Nepali captain collected more than 65 percent of the team total in an innings studded with eight boundaries and five sixes. Nepal began the chase with a 29-run opening wicket partnership between Khadka and Pradeep Airee (seven). Anwar Rahman reduced the visitors to 68-3 in 11.3 overs after he bowled Gyanendra Malla (seven) and trapped Rohit Kumar Paudel (five) leg before wicket.
Khadka then got involved in an unbroken 61-run partnership for the fourth wicket with returning batsman Sharad Vesawkar easing the chase. Vesawkar, who made a 20-ball 16 not out, sealed the victory with a six off Virandeep Singh. He was playing his first match after missing the tour of UAE due to illness.
Earlier, fast bowling spearhead Sompal Kami gave Nepal an early breakthrough clean bowling Syed Aziz for a duck in the first over. Another opener Virandeep and Fitri Sham (12) offered resistance with a 41-run second wicket partnership before leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane struck with the dismissal of latter.
Virandeep stuck to the crease forging another 50-run stand with his captain Ahmed Faiz. The hosts were looking strong at 93-2 by the start of the 15th over but once veteran spinner Basanta Regmi removed Virandeep, their innings began to crumble. With the dismissal of Virandeep, Malaysia managed just 35 runs in the last 34 deliveries losing six wickets in the process. Karan KC was pick of the Nepali bowlers with the figures of 3-27 from four overs. Lamichhane and Regmi took two wickets apiece.
Virandeep top scored for Malaysia with a 49-ball 57 that included seven boundaries and a six. Faiz was the next best with 45 off 39 that included two hits over the fence. Four Malaysia batsmen were out without opening their account.