Twenty20 International: Blistering Bhandari knock secures Nepal's series win

- Ritesh Rijal, Kathmandu

Jul 14, 2019-

A whirlwind knock from Binod Bhandari set up a thrilling six-run win over hosts Malaysia in the second Twenty20 International match at the Kinrara Oval grounds in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

The victory meant Nepal completed their first ever T20 international series clean sweep having won the first match by seven wickets at the same venue on Saturday. Batting first, Nepal were indebted to a record fastest half century  from wicketkeeper/batsman Bhandari to post 173-6 in 20 overs. The hosts fell agonising short of the victory target, eventually making 167-7 in 20 overs.

Skipper Paras Khadka, who struck a record highest 86 runs in T20Is the previous day, and  fellow opener Pawan Sarraf gave a decent start putting on 34 runs for the first wicket in 4.5 over. But Nepal lost three wickets in quick succession starting with the run out of Sarraf (10). Fitri Sham then struck twice in two successive balls to get rid of skipper Khadka and his deputy Gyanendra Malla (7). The double blow reduced Nepal to 42-3 by the sixth over. Khadka struck two sixes and as many fours in his 19-ball 23.

Rohit Kumar Paudel and veteran Sharad Vesawkar led Nepal's recovery with a 46- run stand for the fourth wicket. Vesawkar played an aggressive knock scoring 40 off just 28 deliveries with four boundaries and two sixes. Paudel chipped in with 23-ball 19. Bhandari walked in after the dismissal of Paudel in the 13th over and his unbeaten knock propelled Nepal to 173-6. Bhandari clobbered five sixes and three fours in his 25-ball 51. He slammed a six in the last ball of the innings to complete his half century and surpass his current captain's previous fastest 50 record in 32 balls. Sham was pick of the Malayasia bowlers with figures of  3-26 from three overs. Syed Aziz and Sharvin Muniandy also claimed one wicket each for the home team.

Malaysia appeared to be coasting towards victory after openers Virandeep Singh and Aziz put on a massive 75-run stand for the first wicket. However, Abinash Bohara broke the partnership having Singh (23) caught by wicketkeeper Bhandari in the 10th over. Aziz soon followed Singh to the pavilion falling prey to Sompal Kami in the next over. Aziz made exactly 50, hitting seven boundaries and a six in his 37-ball knock.

Aminuddin Ramly and Muhamad Syahadat also played aggressive knocks but the hosts still fell short of their target. Ramly hit three sixes in his 11-ball 24 and Syahadat remained unbeaten on 21, his 11-ball cameo included two  fours and a six. Kami, Bohara and Sandeep Lamichhane played their part in slowing down Malaysian chase by taking wickets at regular intervals. Kami and Lamichhane took two wickets each while Karan KC, Bohara and skipper Khadka bagged one each for Nepal.

The two-match series was part of both team's preparations for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Asia Regional Qualifier, which is scheduled for July 20-28 in  Singapore. The five-team Asia Qualifiers will send only the table-toppers into the Twenty20 World Cup Global Qualifiers to be held in the UAE in October and November. Apaft from hosts Singapore, Kuwait and Qatar are the other three teams in the Asia Qualifiers.


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Published: 14-07-2019 21:13

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