KATHMANDU: Nepal men’s team scripted history during its Asian Games group match against Mongolia on Wednesday, breaking a series of T20I records as the men’s tournament kickstarted in Hangzhou.
After India won the gold medal in the women’s event on Monday, the men’s event saw world record being made in its very first match, as Nepal put up an incredible score of 314/3 in 20 overs, becoming the first team to breach the 300-run mark in the shortest format of the game.
It had been earlier confirmed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) that the matches at the Asian Games would be granted T20I status.
Moreover, Dipendra Singh Airee broke Yuvraj Singh’s long-standing record of fastest T20I half-century – that the latter scored during the 2007 World Cup against England (12 balls) – reaching the mark in just nine deliveries. He ended with an unbeaten score of 52 in 10 balls, with 48 of them coming in sixes.
But that wasn’t the end of milestones. Kushal Malla had something bigger in store as he went past India captain Rohit Sharma and South Africa’s star batter David Miller to score the fastest T20I hundred, reaching the mark in just 34 deliveries; both batters had reached the three-figures in 35. Malla smashed 8 fours and 12 sixes, and remained unbeaten on 137 off just 50 deliveries.
Here’s the list of highest T20I scores in history:
1: Nepal – 314/4 vs Mongolia (2023)
2: Afghanistan – 278/3 vs Ireland (2019)
3: Czech Republic – 278/4 vs Turkey (2019)
4: Australia – 263/3 vs Sri Lanka (2016)
5: Sri Lanka 260/6 vs Kenya (2007)
Interestingly, Nepal had made a slow start to their innings at the Zhejiang University of Technology Cricket Field in Hangzhou, with both openers playing at a strike rate lower than 100; Malla, then, gave the innings a much-needed boost, forging a 193-run stand alongside captain Rohit Paudel (61 off 27 balls) before Dipendra gave the side a perfect finish, breaking a world record in the process.
India to join in QFs
There are three groups with three teams each in the first round of the men’s competition at the Asian Games. The top-placed side from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals, where the likes of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan will join the tournament.
India will be led by Ruturaj Gaikwad, who had recently been a part of the ODI squad for the series against Australia, and also played in the first two matches.