Nepal go down against Malaysia in the ACC Eastern Region T20 opener in BangkokNepal lost the game by 22 runs as only three batsmen managed to get into double digits in the run chase. However, Sandeep Lamichhane became the first Nepali bowler to take 100 T20 wickets.
Nepal went down by 22 runs against Malaysia in their opening match of the ACC Eastern Region T20 Qualifiers in Bangkok on Saturday.
In the match played at Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok, a late surge saw Malaysia post a competitive 154-6 before Nepali batting crumbled and got all out for 132 runs with a ball to spare.
Nepal made early inroads after Malaysia decided to bat first with spinner Sandeep Lamichhane taking the first three wickets. With three wickets in the game, Lamichhane also became the first Nepali bowler to cross 100 Twenty20 wickets.
Lamichhane removed Virandeep Singh and Khizar Hayat off successive deliveries in the third over before removing Anwar Arudin for 31 runs to leave Malaysia at 53-3 in 8.5 overs. Anwar and skipper Ahmed Faiz put on a 38-run partnership for the fourth wicket. After Anwar was dismissed, Ahmed put on a 34-run partnership with Syed Aziz. Ahmed was bowled by Abinash Bohora in the 14th over for 30 runs.
The Nepali side were in control of the game after Bohora removed Mohamed Arief for just one, on the penultimate ball of the 14th over. Nepali bowlers had taken five Malaysian wickets for 89 runs within the 14th over. But a 63-run partnership between Syed Aziz, who remained unbeaten on 51 off 35 balls, and Aminuddin Ramly took their total past the 150 mark. Malaysia finished their innings with 154 runs.
Chasing 155 for victory, opener Kushal Malla got caught on the second ball of the innings for a duck. Skipper Gyanendra Malla and Paras Khadka put on 21 runs before Khadka too was caught in the fourth over after scoring just nine runs. Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee provided the much needed partnership, adding 67 runs for the third wicket. Malla, the joint highest scorer for Nepal, was dismissed for 38, leaving Nepal at 89-3 in the 13th over, still short of the winning score by 66 runs.
But with Airee and Sharraf batting and five batsmen still to come, Nepal had some hopes of getting back into the match. The Airee-Sharraf duo put on 21 runs before Airee was caught behind for 38 in the 16th over after which Nepal's slim chances began to evaporate. Sharraf was the next to fall for 19 in the 17th over with Nepal still requiring 36 runs from 19 balls.
Malla, Airee and Sharraf were the only Nepali batsmen to reach double-digit scores as Nepali tailenders were blown away by Sharvin Muniandy, who took three wickets from his four balls in the last over. Nepal lost their last five wickets for a mere 15 runs. Only three batsmen being able to make double-digit scores, reflected the struggle of Nepali batsmen.
Muniandy's exploits in the last over also won him the player of the match award. He took four wickets for Malaysia. Pavandeep Singh, Syazrul Idrus and Khizar Hayat took two wickets each.
Nepal will now play their second match against Hong Kong on Sunday. Five teams—Thailand, Nepal, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia—are taking part in the competition. The top two teams will qualify for the Asia Cup Qualifiers in August, in Malaysia.
Lamichhane reaches 100 wickets milestone
Nepali spinner Sandeep Lamichhane became the first Nepali bowler to take 100 wickets in Twenty20 matches. With three wickets against Malaysia on Saturday, the globe-trotting spinner now has 102 wickets from 75 innings. He has taken 31 of those wickets for the national side. Lamichhane has taken 13 wickets in Indian Premier League (IPL), 15 wickets in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and 26 wickets in the Big Bash League (BBL).
All of his wickets in the IPL, CPL and BBL have come within two seasons. He has also taken two wickets in the Afghan Premier League, four in Bangladesh Premier League and 11 in the Pakistan Super League.