Kathmandu: Nepal clinched their second consecutive victory in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier campaign, triumphing over Malaysia by seven-wicket margin on Tuesday.
This win secures Nepal’s place in the tournament semifinals, with one group stage game remaining.
In an extraordinary display of power hitting, the Nepali team successfully chased down a target of 166 runs in 18 overs. Leading the charge, Kushal Malla played a stunning innings, scoring 65 runs off just 34 balls, including two fours and seven sixes, solidifying Nepal’s dominance in the match.
Earlier, opener Kushal Bhurtel scored 43 runs off 25 balls, hitting four fours and four sixes. Another opener Aasif Sheikh 32 runs off 23 balls hitting one four and two sixes.
Likewise, Nepali captain Rohit Kumar Paudel was dismissed for two runs playing eight balls. Sundeep Jora, who came after Paudel’s dismissal, scored 17 runs off 13 balls.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, Malaysia made a strong start, forging an opening partnership of 58 runs. However, they faltered during the middle overs, losing wickets at regular intervals. But, the visitors managed to post a competitive total of 165 runs, albeit losing nine wickets in the allocated 20 overs.
For Nepal, Abhinash Bohora took four wickets, while Sandeep Lamichhane, Gulsan Jha and Rohit Kumar Paudel took a wicket each.
With the loss, Malaysia crashed out of the tournament. In the next match, Nepal will play the final game of the group stage on Thursday against Oman.
A total of eight teams are contending in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier Final, vying for two coveted spots at next year’s global showpiece in the United States and the West Indies.
Nepal has been drawn alongside Singapore, Oman, and Malaysia in Group A, while Group B comprises the UAE, Hong Kong, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals, from which the two finalists will secure their berths in the 2024 T20 World Cup. Nepal’s sole appearance at a cricket World Cup came during the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh.