Nepal too strong for hostsLeg spin prodigy Sandeep Lamichhane once again lived up to his star billing and skipper Paras Khadka hit back form with a half century as Nepal eased to an eight-wicket victory over hosts Malaysia in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier Asia (Eastern Region) in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Leg spin prodigy Sandeep Lamichhane once again lived up to his star billing and skipper Paras Khadka hit back form with a half century as Nepal eased to an eight-wicket victory over hosts Malaysia in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier Asia (Eastern Region) in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Lamichhane followed his four-wicket haul against Myanmar in the tournament opener to pick up a five-for at the Bayuemas Oval as Nepal skittled out Malaysia for just 100 runs in 19.3 overs. Nepal overcame a shaky start before Khadka’s half century steered the team to 101-2 in 12.4 overs.
With only Singapore remaining now as the next opponent to pose a challenge, Saturday’s victory has gradually put Nepal’s foot in tournament’s top three spot which will send the teams into the Asia Region Qualifier to play the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait.
The Asian Region Qualifier will send the top two teams into the Global Qualifiers from where six teams go to the 2020 ICC World Twenty20 in Australia.
For Nepal, it was another clinical show in Kuala Lumpur after the eight-wicket drubbing of Myanmar in the first match. But their opening woes continued to haunt them in the second straight game. Nepal benched Pradeep Airee, gone for a second-ball duck against Myanmar, and tried a new pair of Anil Kumar Sah and Binod Bhandari. The move hardly fetched result as Sah (one) lost his wicket in the second over cheaply.
Bhandari made a run-a-ball 12 in a 30-run second wicket stand with Khadka before Pavandeep Singh had him caught by Syed Aziz. Khadka, who took little time to settle at the crease, then punished Malaysian bowlers and together with his deputy Gyanendra Malla shared 69 unbeaten runs for the third wicket taking the team home.
Khadka struck 52 not out from 37 balls with five fours and two sixes, while Malla was unbeaten on 27 from 24 balls hitting two fours before sealing the victory with a six.
Malaysia had a perfect first half of their innings after their opener Shaif Sharif held the innings beginning with a 30-run first wicket stand with Aziz (13). Lamichhane came into the show and gave the break through removing Aziz and returned in his next over to get rid of Suhan Alagaratnam (five).
Sharif, however, held firm and forged another crucial partnership of 39 runs with skipper Ahmed Faiz (seven) laying a foundation for what could have been a challenging total for them. But Sompal returned in his second spell to remove Faiz and Muhamad Syahadat in consecutive deliveries that triggered a terrible Malaysian collapse from 75-2.
Lamichhane was next to strike with the prized scalp of Sharif followed by back-to-back dismissal of Virandeep Singh as Malaysia caved in. Sharif fell one short of his half century, his 37-ball innings including seven boundaries and two sixes. Lamichhane picked up another man-of-the-match award for his 5-20 from four overs and Kami took 3-16 from 3.3.
Nepal skipper Khadka said it was a great day for his side. “At 75-2 they (Malaysia) were looking good but Sompal’s back-to-back strike turned the game. Sandeep came and dismissed the guy (Sharif) who was making runs and demolished rest of the batting order. Overall bowlers were clinical and fielding was also up to the mark. It was a gread day for us and a good win too,” said Khadka.
Nepal 101-2 in 12.4 overs (P Khadka 52 not out, G Malla 27; S Aziz 1-30, P Singh 1-27) beat Malaysia 100 all out in 19.3 overs (S Sharif 49, S Aziz 13; S Lamichhane 5-20, S Kami 3-16) by eight wickets
Man-of-the-match: S Lamichhane