Oman and Nepal win thrillers on day four in Nepal
On paper, the match of the day was set to be Hong Kong against the UAE in the afternoon, but the morning matches saw the sort of close finishes that enliven any cricket match, whatever the format.
Malaysia, batting first after winning the toss against Oman, started well, reaching 68-1 in the first eight overs, with Hammad Ullah Khan scoring 47 and Suhan Kumar scoring 35. But two wickets in the ninth over saw the start of a mid innings slump to 110-7.
The lower order recovered the innings to lead Malaysia to 149-9 from their 20 overs. Aamir Khaleem was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-18.
Oman's reply progressed in similar fashion to Malaysia's innings, reaching 69-1 before Ghazanfar Iqbal was run out from the last ball of the tenth over. They then slumped to 87-5 before the lower middle order began a recovery, getting Oman to the position where they needed 24 from the last two overs.
They took twelve from the penultimate over, leaving twelve more to get from the final over. A single from the first ball was followed by a four from the second, before a dot ball swung the game back to Malaysia, with Oman needing seven from three.
Two from the next ball, and two from the penultimate delivery scored before Amir Ali was run out going for the third. Three needed from the last delivery, and Rajeshkumar Ranpura smashed a full length delivery through cover for a four to secure a three wicket win for his team.
Over at the Tribhuvan University ground, hosts Nepal took on Kuwait in another match that went right down to the wire.
Put into bat by Kuwait captain Azmatullah Nazeer, Nepal started well enough with Subash Khakurel scoring 40 from 32 balls. The rest of the batting order showed Nepal's typical struggles with the Twenty20 format though, and the team could only score 126-6 from their 20 overs.
Saud Kumar led Kuwait's reply with an even paced innings, and helped get his team to the point where they needed 27 from the last two overs. Nine were taken from the penultimate over, leaving a tough 18 to get from the final over.
The first ball of the over saw Kumar hit a six to take his score to 39. Prithu Baskota then bowled three consecutive wides, but had Kumar stumped from the second, leaving Kuwait needing nine from four deliveries with two wickets in hand.
Ali Zaheer was then trapped lbw, and Kuwait needed nine from three with the number 11 at the crease. Yohan Gadera managed a single to get his captain on strike, who promptly hit a six over mid-wicket to reduce the equation to two from two.
Drama then from the penultimate delivery. Baskota sent a delivery down leg-side, and wicket-keeper Khakurel whipped the bails off with Nazeer out of his ground. Kuwait claimed the ball was a wide, making the match a tie, but the umpire said the ball flicked the pads on the way through, meaning that Nepal had won by just one run.
The afternoon match between the UAE and Hong Kong was a tale of two innings which together made up more than half the runs scored in the match.
For the UAE, Amjad Ali batted throughout their innings, scoring 79 from 65 balls to take his team to 144-4, but Irfan Ahmed scored his 70 at a much quicker pace, from just 42 balls to help Hong Kong win by four wickets with two overs to spare.
The other match in the afternoon saw Afghanistan record a comprehensive win over Bhutan. Karim Sadiq's 72 from 42 balls was the top score in Afghanistan's mammoth total of 225-6, before Bhutan were bundled out for just 45 to lose by 180 runs.
Tomorrow's matches in Group A will see Afghanistan play the Maldives and Malaysia play Bhutan. In Group B, hosts Nepal will play Saudi Arabia whilst Hong Kong will play Kuwait.