In the inaugural match of the Men’s T20I cricket competition at the 2023 Asian Games held in China, the encounter between Nepal and Mongolia showcased one of the most lopsided games in recent memory.
The underdog, Mongolia, won the toss and chose to bowl first at the Pingfeng Campus Cricket Field. Nepal, arriving on the back of their debut Asia Cup campaign, commenced their innings steadily, accumulating 42 runs in the opening five overs. Following the departure of the openers, captain Rohit Paudel and Kushal Malla embarked on a staggering 193-run partnership in a mere 65 deliveries.
Malla etched his name into the annals of T20I cricket by hammering the fastest century in the format, reaching his hundred in just 34 balls. This feat surpassed the records previously held by Rohit Sharma and David Miller, both of whom had scored centuries in 35 balls each. The 19-year-old concluded his remarkable innings unbeaten at 137 runs off 50 deliveries, featuring eight fours and an impressive 12 sixes.
This was merely one of the numerous records obliterated by Nepal during the match. Subsequent to Paudel’s departure after an entertaining 27-ball 61, the stage was set for all-rounder Dipendra Singh Airee. In an extraordinary display, the 23-year-old etched his name in cricketing history by achieving the fastest half-century in T20I cricket in terms of balls faced, requiring only nine deliveries to reach his milestone.
This feat surpassed the previous record held by Yuvraj Singh for 16 years, who had scored a fifty in 12 balls against England in the 2007 T20 World Cup. Airee finished his innings unbeaten at 52 runs off just 10 balls, establishing a 55-run partnership off 11 deliveries alongside Malla.
Nepal concluded their innings with a colossal total of 314/3 in their allotted 20 overs, marking the highest T20I score to date. Notably, they became the first-ever team to amass over 300 runs in a T20I match, surpassing Afghanistan’s previous record of 278/3, achieved against Ireland in 2019.
Paudel’s squad contributed to this astounding feat by striking a remarkable 26 sixes during their innings, breaking the previous record of 22 sixes set by Afghanistan in the aforementioned match against Ireland.
Mongolia faced the unenviable task of chasing a daunting target but was ultimately dismissed for a meagre 41 runs in 13.1 overs. Nepal clinched victory by an astonishing margin of 273 runs, marking the most significant win in terms of runs in T20I cricket.