KATHMANDU, Oct 7: Vice-captain Gyanendra Malla hammered an explosive half century as Nepal thrashed Saudi Arabia by 9 wickets in its third match of ACC Trophy Elite at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on Sunday.
Chasing a low target of 132 runs, Nepal achieved the mark in just 13.1 overs. Malla made an unbeaten 61 off only 23 balls that included 13 boundaries and a six. Subash Khakurel remained not out on 35.
Anil Mandal was the only Nepali batsman out. He scored a fluent 29 off 25 balls. Both Mandal and Khakurel hit four fours each.
Earlier, winning the toss and electing to field first, Nepali bowlers prevented Saudi batsmen from freely scoring runs, with one of the tailenders Ifthakar Ali top-scoring with 28 not out for Saudi Arabia.
Opener Mohammad Mohsin (27) was the other major contributor.
Nepali skipper Paras Khadka and spinner Basanta Regmi took three wickets apiece. Likewise, Shakti Gauchan Bhuwan Karki bagged two wickets each. Nepal conceded 15 extra runs.
At one stage, nine of the Saudi batsmen were already back to the pavilion in 43rd over with just 103 runs on board. However, it was the last pair of Ali and Syed Hassan (5) who shared a 28-run stand, helping the side make a fighting total.
Nepal had lost to Kuwait Saturday by 4 wickets and won its opening match against the host UAE by 4 wickets on Wednesday.
Pitted in Group B, Nepal will next play Hong Kong. Nepal is currently third in the points tally, with a win and a loss. Hong Kong leads the standings ahead of the UAE. Both the teams have equal 4 points from three matches.
Kuwait is placed fourth, which has equal two points with Nepal from two matches. Winless Saudi Arabia is at the bottom of the tally, losing both matches it has played so far.
Nepali Squad: Paras Khadka (skipper), Pradip Airee, Prithu Baskota, B Bhandari, Shakti Prasad Gauchan, Bhuwan Karki, Subash Khakurel (wicketkeeper), Gyanendra Malla, Anil Kumar Mandal, Basanta Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar.
Saudi Squad: Mohammad Mohsin, Omar Sohail, Javaid Iqbal, Mohammad Afzal, Nadeem Al-Nadwi (skipper), Mohammad Nadeem, Nazeer Faaroqui, Ifthakar Ali, Omar Zafar, Suhrab Kilsingatakam, Syed Hassan(wicketkeeper).