Nepal put behind a scary batting performance to notch a 21-run victory against Malaysia in the opening match of the ACC Twenty20 Cup cricket tournament at the Kuwait Oil Company Ground.

Nepal recovered from 84/6 to accumulate 121/9 in 20 overs –thanks to 38-run seventh wicket stand by Basant Regmi and captain Binod Das. Malaysia was bowled out for 100 runs in 18.5 overs.

Invited to bat first, Nepal got a brisk start against the pace bowlers with Paresh Lohani and Mehboob Alam getting some runs. Mehboob fell on 17 off 9 balls as slow bowlers pegged down the batsmen.

Sarad Vesawkar, Shakti Gauchan, Paras Khadka and Dipendra Chaudhary were soon out without much contribution. The four mainstay batsmen totaled nine runs between them.

Paresh played well for 31 off 41 balls but his departure put Nepal in danger of not reaching three-digit mark. It was then man of the match Basant produced a brave effort with Binod. The two brought Nepal back into game with 38-runs in 30 balls that included just two boundaries.

Basant topscored with run-a-ball 33 while Binod got 18 off 13 deliveries. For Malaysia, the pick was Arul Suppiah who grabbed two wickets for 11 runs.

In reply, Malaysia scored seven runs of first over of Mehboob but lost a wicket in second over as run-out wicket. Mehboob grabbed one in his second as Malaysia went down to 9/2. Two quick wickets gave confidence to Nepali bowlers as Malaysia scored slowly.

At the end of 12th over, they were 64/3 needing runs at the rate of 7.25 per over. Then Mahesh Chhetri came into action stumping three batsmen in space of four balls – two to Rahul BK, who ended the over on hattrick, and one to Basant. At 67/6, the match virtually ended. Rahul and Basant returned with three wickets each while Mehboob grabbed two.

“We always thought we could defend 120 – the wicket was doing a bit for spinners,” Binod commented after the win. “At times we were sloppy but at the important times we took our chances and got them out. It was a good win for us.”

Nepal takes Qatar on Sunday.