Karan KC’s menacing pyrotechnics was the toast of the day as Nepal racked up their second highest Twenty20 International total to crush Malaysia by 69 runs in their final league match of the Tri-Nation Series on Thursday.
The top order once again signaled Nepal’s domination but Malaysia at one stage looked like containing the hosts close to 180 before Karan 13-ball 45 lifted them to a mammoth 217-7 in 20 overs.
Sompal Kami, debutant Kamal Singh Airee and Sandeep Lamichhane, in his 100th Twenty20 International, picked up three wickets each as Malaysia were 148 all out in 19.1 overs.
Nepal maintained run rate with nine runs an over after Kushal Bhurtel (16), his opening partners Aasif Sheikh, skipper Gyanendra Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee all contributed before Malaysia prevented them from converting into big totals reducing the hosts to 148-5 by the 16th over.
Karan stepped in and exhibiting his big-hitting prowess smashing seven sixes in a 13-ball innings and on the way shared 66-run partnership with Kushal Malla off just 23 deliveries.
Karan was on a 10-ball 38 with Yuvraj Singh’s world record of 12-ball half century on Twenty20 within his sight. Having hit Dhivendran Mogan for four sixes in the previous over, Karan took the strike in the second ball of the 19th over and struck a maximum off Muhammad Wafiq to reach 44 off 11 balls.
But he only managed a single of the third ball. Kushal Malla struck Wafiq for two sixes and ran for a couple to collect 23 runs from the penultimate over. Karan still had opportunity to hit second fastest 50 only to be brilliantly caught by a diving Anwar Rahman at backward point off Syed Aziz.
Aziz only conceded four runs off the final over picking up two wickets as Nepal missed on to notch up their highest score of 236, made against Bhutan during the 13th South Asian Games at the same TU grounds. Kushal Malla finished on 19 from 10.
The wait was all about opener Kushal Bhurtel equalling Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum record of four consecutive half centuries in Twenty20 Internationals.
Having already become the only cricketer in the world to score three consecutive half centuries as debutant in the previous match, Kushal showed a positive intent hiting two sixes.
But the youngster nicked Wafiq behind Virandeep Singh as Nepal lost their first wicket for 33 runs. Gyanendra and another opener Aasif added 73 runs to maintain the run rate at nine runs an over. Gyanendra fell for a 32-ball 41 after hitting four sixes.
Aasif struck 32-ball 42 with three sixes and three fours on a day when Nepal hit 19 sixes. Dipendra played with grit hitting five fours and a maximum for his 17-ball 33. Fitri Sham, Anwar Rahman and Aiziz took two wickets each for Malaysia who had tied their rain-affected match against Netherlands the other day.
Man-of-the-match Sompal removed Malaysian openers early as they played under pressure of going after all opponent bowlers. Skipper Ahmad Faiz scored up front with a 21-ball 31, while Aminuddin Ramly was their top scorer. Ramly hit five sixes in his 18-ball 41.