Rampant Nepal rewrite cricket record book at Asian Games
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Rampant Nepal rewrite cricket record book at Asian Games

A general view of the Asian Games cricket ground in Hangzhou. (Photo: AFP)
A general view of the Asian Games cricket ground in Hangzhou. (Photo: AFP)

HANGZHOU, China - Nepal became the first men's team in history to score more than 300 runs in T20 international cricket on Wednesday as they rewrote the record books against part-timers Mongolia at the Asian Games.

After winning the toss and opting to bat, they bludgeoned 314-3 in their 20 overs in Hangzhou, beating the previous highest of 278-3 by Afghanistan against Ireland in 2019.

Teenager Kushal Malla, batting number three, spearheaded the onslaught by crashing the fastest T20 international century, off 34 balls.

The 19-year-old's whirlwind innings eclipsed the previous quickest held jointly by South African David Miller, India's Rohit Sharma and the Czech Republic's Sudesh Wickramasekara, who all took 35 balls.

Left-hander Malla, who made his Nepal debut when he was just 15, went on to finish on 137 not out off just 50 balls. It was his maiden T20 international century and he smacked 12 sixes and eight fours.

Nepal's batsmen were rampant on a sunny morning at the Zhejiang University for Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field, captain Rohit Paudel creaming 61 off 27 balls with six sixes.

But it was Dipendra Singh Airee who finished the innings in ridiculous fashion against the hapless Mongolian bowlers, hitting a scarcely believable eight sixes in an unbeaten 52 off 10 balls.

The powerful 23-year-old raced to his fifty off nine balls, another T20 world record, and one that should stand in perpetuity as it mathematically impossible to reach the landmark any quicker.

His astonishing knock shattered the previous mark of 12 balls by India's Yuvraj Singh against England in 2007, when the all-rounder hit six sixes off the final over bowled by Stuart Broad.

Huge win margin

Nepal's 26 sixes in the innings was also a record, beating Afghanistan's 22 against Ireland.

Mongolia, whose women's team were bowled out for 15 last week at the Asian Games, were dismissed for 41 in 13.1 overs.

Nepal's winning margin of 273 runs was the biggest, in terms of runs, ever in a men's T20 international — greater than the Czech Republic's 257-run margin against Turkey in 2019.

Mongolia's cricketers have had baptism of fire in their first Asian Games.

Their men will have to pick themselves up in time to play the Maldives when the men's preliminary rounds continue on Thursday, while Nepal will face the Indian Ocean nation on Saturday.

Asian cricket giants India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will join the preliminary group winners at next week's quarter-final stage.

Mongolia's women's team were in tears last week after bowling 38 wides and losing by 172 runs to Indonesia on the opening day of action at the Asian Games.

It was their debut at an international tournament and half of the players had never travelled outside of Mongolia before.

Before 2016 there had not even been a cricket pitch in Mongolia and for many players it was their first experience of playing on grass wickets.

"I know we've only made 15 runs but none of our girls have played the game for longer than two years," said coach David Talalla.

"The whole idea is the longer picture — cricket in Mongolia, who would have thought it?"

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