February 9, 2020 08:35 AM NPT
By: Rajan Shah
Kushal Malla in action during Nepal’s ODI match against USA, Saturday. Photo: Republica
KATHMANDU, Feb 9: Nepal’s debutant all-rounder Kushal Malla has become the youngest male cricketer in history to make an international half-century after scoring 50 runs in 51 deliveries against the United States (US) during the third One-Day International (ODI) match of ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series played at TU Cricket Ground, Kirtipur on Saturday.
At 15 years and 346 days, Malla eclipsed fellow countryman Rohit Kumar Paudel’s record.
Paudel was 16 years and 146 days old when he broke Sachin Tendulkar’s record by 67 days in January last year.
Ironically, Malla had replaced Paudel in Nepal’s national cricket team during the match against the US.
Incidentally, Malla didn’t raise his bat to celebrate his half-century when he reached the milestone during the match.
The teenager later expressed that he was thinking about a century at that stage as 14 overs were still remaining before the close of the innings.
“We only had 130 runs at the stage. I was more focused on getting more runs for the team. I always felt confident about my batting,” said Malla in the post-match press conference.
Malla’s half-century, which included four boundaries and three sixes, helped change the momentum of the match as Nepal went on to score 190 runs of 49.2 overs. Nepal won the match by 35 runs to record its first ever ODI win in home soil after limiting the US to 155 all out in 44.1 overs in front of a jam-packed home crowd.
Tendulkar, who is now third in the list, made 59 in a Test match against Pakistan aged 16 years and 213 days.
Similarly, South Africa’s female cricketer Johmari Logtenburg holds the record for youngest person ever to strike Test and ODI half-centuries at the age of 14.