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Malaysia upsets Afghanistan for first win

Oman beats Nepal by two wickets on third day of the Asian Cricket Council Premier League

Malaysia upsets Afghanistan for first win - Cricket News
Malaysia bowlers kept chipping away with wickets as Afghanistan folded for 175.

Khizar Hayat’s four-wicket haul helped Malaysia secure an upset win against Afghanistan in the seventh match of the Asian Cricket Council Premier League at the Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday (May 4).

Afghanistan was kept to a modest total of 175 in 46 overs, and Malaysia achieved the target in 37 overs, winning by three wickets and overcoming a few hiccups in its chase.

Anwar Arudin (34) and Ahmed Faiz (44) gave Malaysia much-needed momentum in the chase with a 40-run stand for the second wicket in 4.5 overs after Hammadullah Khan had fallen for just 6 in the fourth over. In at No.4, Shafiq Sharif ensured the runs kept coming with a 77-ball 44. 

When Malaysia was just ten runs away from victory, it lost Sharif, Suhan Alagaratnam (15) and Hayat (5) in quick succession but with not enough runs on the board, Afghanistan couldn’t force a win.

Earlier, Hayat had taken 4 for 29 with his offspin after Malaysia chose to bowl first. He accounted for the first three batsmen after openers Noor Ali Zadran (18) and Usman Ghani (36) had made a steady start. Wickets fell regularly, and apart from Ghani, Nasir Jamal, who also made 36, was the only batsman to go on and make good score after getting a start.

That trend was reflected in the partnerships, with Afghanistan having a string of decent ones, but not converting any of them into a big stand.

Hayat’s efforts netted him the Man of the Match award.

In another match on Sunday, Oman won a close game by two wickets over Nepal at the Selangor Turf Club. Aamir Kaleem starred with the ball for Oman and was awarded the Man of the Match.

Kaleem’s 4 for 36 was instrumental in restricting Nepal to a manageable total of 157 all out in 47 over. Oman then chased down the target in 47.5 overs but not before the Nepal bowlers put up a valiant effort.

Put in to bat, Nepal got off to a bad start with Subash Khakurel scoring a second consecutive duck, but Gyanendra Malla (26) and Naresh Budayair (23) steadied the innings with a 40-run stand. The Oman bowlers fought back and kept chipping away with wickets as Nepal could put up only a modest total.

Zeeshan Maqsood and Ajay Vrajlal Lalcheta picked up two wickets each for Oman.

The start of Oman’s innings was also not ideal, as it lost Zeeshan Siddiqui for a duck. Maqsood (44) and Vaibhav Wategaonkar added 50 runs for the second wicket to get the chase going. Though Wategaonkar fell for 8 in the eighth over, Arif Hussain (23) and Maqsood didn’t let the momentum swing towards Nepal as the duo added another 37 runs in 8.5 overs.  

However, Shakti Gauchan (2 for 19) and Paras Khadka (2 for 23) kept things tight and were rewarded for their economical bowling. With eight wickets down for 126, a calm-headed performance by captain Sultan Ahmed (32 off 55 balls) ensured Oman claimed its second victory of the tournament.

Oman will play Afghanistan in its next match, while, Nepal will be up against Hong Kong on May 5. Malaysia will play the United Arab Emirates on the same day.