Kathmandu, March 30, 2017: Skipper Gyanendra Malla put up a brilliant all-round performance to steer Nepal to a commanding seven–wicket win over Hong Kong in its third match of the Emerging Teams Asia Cup at the Sheikh Kamal International Stadium in Gopalganj, Bangladesh on Thursday.
Malla, leading the side in absence of injured Paras Khadka, rolled his arm over to dismiss the openers Anshuman Rath (51) and Cameron McAulsen (43) in consecutive overs with his leg-spinners after they put up a threatening 95-run opening partnership by the 21st over, and then scored fluent 70 to steer his team to a comfortable victory in 44.2 overs.
Hong Kong never recovered from the double strike and was ultimately bowled out for 214 off the last ball of the 50th over. Bhuwan Karki returned figures of 2-37 in his quota of 10 overs and Sushan Bhari 2-53 in his, while new-ball bowler Avinash Karn took three wickets at the end to prevent Hong Kong from building momentum in the death overs. Waqas Khan and Shahid Wasif were the other contributors with the bat for Hong Kong scoring 30 and run-a-ball 22 respectively.
Buoyed up after starting the slide of Hong Kong with the ball to vindicate his decision to field first, Malla started confidently with the bat and put up a sedate opening partnership of 37 runs in 10.1 overs with Asif Sheikh who made eight off 23 balls.
Malla opened up after Sheikh’s dismissal and reached his 50 off just 59 balls with nine fours. He continued to bat aggressively even after dismissal of Dilip Nath (12 off 29 balls) and hit two more fours before being bowled by Jhatha Subraymanyam for 70 off 82 balls.
Teen batting sensation Dipendra Singh Airee and senior batsman Sharad Vesawkar then hit unbeaten half centuries to take the team home putting up 100 runs in just 17.2 overs. Airee, who came at the fall of second wicket, remained unbeaten on 60 off 83 balls hitting five fours and winning six while Vesawkar was more aggressive hitting three fours and as many sixes in his 55 off 51 balls.
Nepal was already out from the group phase after losing to Under-23 teams of Test nations Pakistan and Bangladesh. Nepal finished third in the group of four teams after this win over fellow associate nation that lost all three matches.