Nepal flex muscles in another 9-wicket win

Nepal's opening partnership passed another test, though the victory was set up by a strong fielding and bowling performance.

Nepal 113/1 (12.1) (Kushal Bhurtel 61*, Aasif Sheikh 42, Virandeep Singh 1-7) defeated Malaysia 109/10 at 16.5 overs (Syed Aziz 27, Sharvin Muniandy 20, Karan KC 3-17, Sandeep Lamichhane 2-25) by 9 wickets

The sun again at the TU Ground shone on the Nepal team, flexing their muscles in another nine-wicket win, this time against Malaysia.

After winning the match comprehensively against the Dutch side on Saturday, Nepal made one change in the playing set, allowing Kushal Malla to take in the place of Aarif Sheikh. Winning the toss and electing to field first, the Rhinos restricted Malaysia to a total of just 109, bowling them out with more than three overs to spare.

The Nepalese bowlers once again dominated on home soil with Karan KC picking three important wickets for the team in his three overs. KC bowled 9 dot balls (50%) in his spell. Malaysia started off well, but lost their two wickets in the powerplay. Karan KC produced a thin edge off Anwar Arudin’s bat in the third over, after being crunched for consecutive boundaries. Wicket-keeper Bhandari caught behind safely sending Arudin (8) towards the Pavilion. 

The Nepal team celebrate a wicket
The Nepalese team celebrate a wicket against Malaysia in Kathmandu. Photo: CAN

Opener Syed Aziz dominated Sandeep Lamichhane in the fourth over hitting two boundaries and a six. Next over, the miscommunication between Aziz and skipper Faiz cost Malaysia an important wicket in the form of a run out. Faiz returned to the pavilion, scoring only 3. At the other end, seaming duo Karan KC and Sompal Kami restricted the fearless Aziz in scoring more runs in the powerplay. 

Malaysia was 42 for 2 at the end of the Powerplay. However, despite having a fine start, they could not carry forward the momentum as the wickets kept falling in the regular interval during the middle overs. Syed Aziz top-scored in the first innings with 27 (24), before he was caught at the point by Aasif Sheikh, mistiming a Reverse Sweep. Sharvin Muniandy scored 20 (15), and Shafiq Sharif’s 15 (13) were the only double-figure scores in the team.

Gyanendra Malla used seven bowlers in his fielding effort, with the collective toil leaking just two fours and three sixes during the middle overs. Apart from Karan KC’s three wickets, Sandeep Lamichhane took two while Sompal Kami, Shahab Alam, Dipendra Singh Airee, and Kushal Bhurtel picked one wicket each. 

One of the highlights in the first innings was Sompal Kami’s wicket celebration in the seventh over after bowling out Virandeep Singh (6) who scored 87 runs against the dutch the last day. 

Nepal quick Sompal Kami with a spot of audacity.
Sompal Kami celebrates his wicket. Photo: Bishal Pokhrel

Chasing the target of 110 it was Nepal’s fearless opening pair who made their mark once again. The duo partnered 102 runs for the first wicket creating another record to partner in 100-run partnership in two consecutive matches after debut. Kushal took on the bowler right from the beginning, scoring a six off a fuller length ball of Pavandeep Singh’s second ball, into the crowd, at long-on. 

Meanwhile, Aasif Sheikh crunched the first ball of the second over towards the backward point for a four. Kushal Bhurtel scored 17 runs off the sixth over scoring two back-to-back sixes, a four, and a single against Syed Aziz. It seemed like Bhurtel had all the answers to the Malaysian bowling arsenal, and duo gave Nepal a flying start by taking the score to 70 for 0 at the end of the Powerplay. 

Kushal raced towards his consecutive half-century, scoring 49 runs off 25 balls while Aasif was batting at 21 off 11 at the end of the Powerplay. Bhurtel sprinted for a quick single in the next ball to complete his half-century after 26 balls. His half-century innings included three fours and five sixes. 

Kushal Bhurtel celebrates his consecutive half century at TU International Ground. Photo: CAN

In the third ball of the eleventh over, Aasif pulled Khizar Hayat’s short ball into the deep mid-wicket for a six, completing the hundred-run partnership at 10.3 overs with Kushal Bhurtel contributing 58 and Aasif Sheikh 41. Nepal was 8 runs from reaching the target as Aasif Sheikh was caught at the short cover by Anwar Rahman off Virandeep’s ball. 

On the first ball of the thirteenth over, vice-captain Dipendra Singh Airee finished the innings with a four registering a nine wickets victory in the chase against Malaysia. Kushal Bhurtel remained not out with 61 off 41 while Airee remained not out for 6(3). 

Karan KC was awarded man of the match for his bowling spell of 3-13 off three overs. 

Karan KC bags Man of the Match Award. Photo: CAN

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