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    Bhurtel’s maiden T20I century help Nepal secure an easy win against Philippines

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    Kushal Bhurtel slammed an unbeaten 61-ball century as Nepal thrashed the Philippines by 136 runs in the second game at Oman Academy 2 ground on Saturday.

    Nepal scored 218/3 in their 20 overs after losing the toss, thanks to the record-breaking third-wicket partnership of 171 runs between Opener Kushal Bhurtel and top-order Dipendra Singh Airee.

    Nepal lost the other Opener Aasif Sheikh for a duck in the second over and soon after, Kushal Malla (12 off 10) followed.

    Nepal managed 41 runs, losing two wickets at the end of the powerplay.

    Bhurtel, playing his eighth T20I, managed the fifth half-century in his short career. He brought his fifty with a boundary in just 32 balls.

    Meanwhile, Dipendra Singh Airee held the innings at the other end while Bhurtel continued his hitting form and went on to complete his maiden T20I century. He also became the third Nepali batter to score a century in T20 International cricket. Former Captain Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla scored their centuries against Singapore and Bhutan respectively.

    The dependable Airee also managed his third half-century and went on to make 83 runs, his highest in T20I, off 47 balls, with six fours and four sixes.

    Bhurtel’s unbeaten 104 off 61 deliveries included 13 boundaries and one maximum. His stand of 171 runs for the third wicket with Airee, produced the best T20I partnership for any wickets for Nepal, beating the 145* between Paras Khadka and Aarif Sheikh for the second wicket against Singapore in 2019.

    Nepal finished the innings at 218/3, their third-highest score in T20I. Nepal made 238/3 against the Netherlands in 2021 and 236/3 against Bhutan in 2019, both at the home ground.

    Philippines were then restricted to only 82/8 with contributions from Daniel Smith, Jordan Alegra and captain Jonathan Hull.

    Sandeep Lamichhane led from the front, with figures of 3/9, to register a thumping 136 runs win. This is the third-highest margin of victory in T20 Internationals for Nepal.

    During the post match presentation, Nepal’s skipper Sandeep Lamichhane praised the partnership of Kushal and Dipendra. “They are class players and they proved that. We wanted to bowl out Philippines, but we couldn’t. We will take lessons from this game forward and continue with our good form ahead,” he said.

    With the win, Nepal sits at the top the table with two wins and Net runrate of 4.375. They will play the last group match against Canada on Monday.

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