Nepal Cricket team. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
The first encounter of the Men’s T20I cricket event in Asian Games 2023 between Nepal and Mongolia turned out to be a massively one-sided affair, on Wednesday, September 27, in Hangzhou, China.
Minnows Mongolia opted to bowl first after winning the toss at the Pingfeng Campus Cricket Field. Nepal, who came into the event fresh off a maiden Asia Cup campaign, had a sedate start as their openers added 42 runs inside the first five overs. Once they were dismissed, Kushal Malla and captain Rohit Paudel upped the ante with a mind-boggling 193-run partnership in just 65 balls.
Malla smashed the fastest ton in T20I cricket off just 34 balls. Rohit Sharma and David Miller previously held the record, scoring tons in 35 balls each. The 19-year-old finished unbeaten on 137 off 50 balls, hitting eight fours and 12 sixes in his whirlwind innings.
This was just one of the many records Nepal shattered in the match. After Paudel was dismissed for an entertaining 27-ball 61, in came all-rounder Dipendra Singh Airee. The 23-year-old etched his name in cricket folklore by scoring the fastest fifty in T20I cricket in terms of balls. Dipendra took just nine balls to get to his half-century. He broke Yuvraj Singh’s 16-year-old record of a 12-ball fifty against England in the 2007 T20 World Cup. The youngster remained unbeaten on 52 off 10 balls, forming a 55-run partnership off 11 balls alongside Malla.
Nepal posted a mammoth 314/3 in their 20 overs, which was also the highest T20I total. With this, they became the first-ever team to score 300-plus runs in a T20I game. Afghanistan held the previous record, which stood at 278/3, and they achieved the feat against Ireland in 2019. Paudel and Co. hit a whopping 26 sixes in their innings. This was the most number of sixes hit in a T20I innings, breaking the record of 22 sixes hit by Afghanistan in the aforementioned match against Ireland.
Chasing the improbable target, Mongolia were bundled out for just 41 runs in 13.1 overs, as Nepal won by a staggering 273 runs. This is the biggest margin of victory in terms of runs in T20I cricket.