A five-wicket haul from fast bowling sensation Som Pal Kami and a half century from Mehboob Alam guided Nepal to a five-wicket win for their second consecutive victory in the ACC Premier League at the Buayemas Oval on Friday.
Nepal bundled out Malaysia for just 149 runs in 43 overs but they had to survive an early scare before reaching 150-5 in 37.3 overs. Following the victory, Nepal stayed at second spot with four points behind Afghanistan on net run rate. Afghanistan routed the United Arab Emirates by 74 runs in another match of the day.
In another match, Oman stunned one-day team Hong Kong by nine runs for their second win in a row but they are pushed to third on run rate.Nepal next meet Oman on Sunday.
Nepal were left out of clue when they were reduced to 36-4 inside 11 overs but a testing 89-run stand between Mehboob and Sharad Vesawkar shifted the momentum.
Suresh Navaratnam bowled a tight spell upfront removing Subash Khakurel for a third ball duck and got rid of in-form Gyanendra Malla (13) inside five overs. Another opener Naresh Budhayer (8) soon fell to Hassan Ghulam and it followed the dismissal of skipper Paras Khadka (11) off Navaratam.
Mehboob stepped in after the early collapse and smashed Irfan Zabrani for four consecutive boundaries in the 14th over as Nepal gained an upper hand in the match. He then punished Navaratnam with two fours in the 17th over that fetched Nepal 15 runs as Nepal’s score read 80-4.
Nepal got seven more runs in the 18th over and the two batsmen switched to a slow gear scoring just 16 from the next 65 balls. Mehboob broke the shackles hitting Suharril Fetri for a boundary to reach 48 runs before Sharad hit the same bowler for a six taking Nepal just 32 runs away from victory.
Mehboob completed his half century in the next over with a single off Ghulam and when the left hander ran himself out, the job was all but done. New man Binod Bhandari (13 not out) and Sharad completed the chase. Sharad remained unbeaten on 25 off 73 balls.
Earlier, Malaysia were hit hard by their own decision to bat first after Som Pal took full advantage of the seaming conditions taking the heart out of the Malaysian top order reducing them to 3-28.
The only positive for Nepal in the match was opener Anwar Arudin and Shafiq Sharif’s 41-run stand for the fourth wicket. However, once Basanta Regmi got rid of Arudin for 34, Malaysian suffered another collapse.
Som Pal took two more wickets in his return spell, while Alam, Khadka and Sagar Pun snapped one each. Som Pal – who had taken three wickets against the UAE on Thursday, returned with the figures of 5-47 with three maidens in his 10-over spell.