Nepal have rewritten the men's T20I record books with a thrashing of Mongolia as the Asian Games men's tournament began today in China.
It started rather sedately with openers Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh putting on 42 in 4.5 overs before the first wicket fell. But then came the carnage.
Kushal Malla brought his fifty up in 19 balls and his century up in 34 balls, beating the record of 35 balls jointy held by Australia's David Miller, India's Rohit Sharma and Czech Republic's Sudesh Wickramasekera.
Rohit Paudel also scored a 19 ball fifty but they were both outdone by Dipendra Singh Airee who hit his first six balls for six and brought up his fifty with another six from the penultimate ball of the innings having faced just nine balls, setting a record that can only be beaten with a bizarre overthrow incident.
Kushal Malla finished the innings unbeaten on 137 from 50 balls - equalling the highest T20I score by an associate batter set by Hungary's Zeeshan Kukikhel against Austria last year and the fifth highest of all tme. Paudel scored 61 from 27 balls whilst Airee was not out on 52 from 10 balls.
The final total for Nepal was 314-3, the first ever 300 plus total in men's T20I cricket (and in all men's List A T20 cricket), though there have been two totals over 300 in women's T20Is. The previous record for highest total total in men's T20Is was 278, jointy held by Afghanistan (against Ireland) and Czech Republic (against Turkey) both in 2019.
Facing a mammoth total, Mongolia - on T20I debut - did well to bat as long as they did, facing 13.1 overs before their last wicket fell. They scored 41 with Davaasuren Jamyansuren the only batter to reach double figures with 10. Nepal conceded 23 in extras, and their winning margin of 273 runs was also a record.
Whilst the usual calls for these matches to not count towards the record books will no doubt come, Nepal can only play the opposition put in front of them. And Mongolia deserve credit - it would have been easy to turn down the last minute invitation after China pulled out, it would have been easy to choose to bat first after winning the toss. But they didn't. And they also, unlike Nepal, sent a men's and women's team to the games. It's been a baptism of fire, but every team needs to start somewhere.
There was another game in the tournament today - a group B match between Cambodia and Japan, the first time the teams have met. It was relatively uneventful.
Cambodia chose to bat first and scored 125-7 from their 20 overs, Ryan Drake taking 3-15. Japan survived three wickets in three balls (one a run out) in the 11th over to chase down their target in 18.1 overs, winning by three wickets. Kendel Kadowaki-Fleming top scored with 35.
Tomorrow's matches will see old rivals Malaysia and Singapore face off in Group C action in the morning, whilst Mongolia don't have long to recover from today's match as they play Maldives in Group A in the afternoon.