Thailand men’s cricket team faced Nepal in their fourth match in the ICC World Twenty20 Asia ‘B’ Qualifier at Bayuemas Oval in Kuala Lumpur and the Thai side were looking to build on some positive performances at the start of the competition against one of the strongest Associate teams in Asia.
Thailand had started the day at the top of the table with five points from three matches but they were put firmly in their place by a Nepal side who had performed so well in the 50-over game in the past year that they had won ODI status for the first time.
The gulf in class between Nepal and the other teams Thailand had faced in the competition was clear from the start as the openers clubbed 28 from the first two overs. Thailand’s bowlers held their nerve as a position of 99 for 2 in 12 overs became 128 for 7 in 17.3 as Payaputh Sungnard took four wickets with his off-spin.
Restricting Nepal to a total of 140 in 20 overs would have been a creditable effort in the field for Thailand but it wasn’t to be as Karan KC hit 40 from 14 balls with two fours and four sixes as Nepal finished on an imposing 172 for 7.
Thailand had a mountain to climb and Shafiqul Haque was bowled by the last ball of the first over even before the magician Sandeep Lamichhane took the ball for the second over. Left-hander Daniel Jacobs had been looking forward to a great challenge but he was out stumped to the spinner’s second ball as he pushed tentatively forward. Nick Janes was lbw in Lamichhane’s next over but at least Thailand reached a respectable 16 for 3 after six overs.
Thailand would score only two more runs in the next 2.5 overs as Player of the Match Karan KC took three wickets for two runs either side of Sandeep Lamichhane’s triple-wicket maiden. Captain Vichanath Singh had just made it to the crease at number 11 with the score on 18 for 9 from 8.5 overs when the onset of rain put Thailand out of their misery.
The final result reflected how far apart in ability the two teams still are on the cricket field as Nepal beat Thailand by 140 runs on the Duckworth Lewis method. Nepal now stand on top of the table with three wins from three matches ahead of Singapore on run-rate who beat Malaysia by 40 runs. Myanmar celebrated their first victory as they beat China by eight wickets after bowling out their opponents for 48.
After rest day on Monday, Thailand face Singapore and Myanmar in their last two matches in the competition.