Malaysia put in a much-improved bowling performance to keep the Twenty20 International series with Vanuatu alive with a 26-run win in the third match at the Kinrara Oval on Wednesday.
Vanuatu won the rescheduled second match in the morning by 51 runs to go two up but Malaysia cut the deficit to 2-1 in the night match after Pavandeep Singh and Wafiq Irfan Zarbani picked up three wickets each to bowl the visitors out for the first time in the five-match series.
The victory ended a run of five consecutive defeats for Malaysia in T20I matches since beating Kuwait in July at the T20 World Cup Asian Regional Finals in Singapore. That poor run meant Malaysia dropped one rung to 36th when the ICC men’s T20I ranking list was updated on Tuesday with Vanuatu, who won the opening match of the series on Sunday by 17 runs, moving up to 52nd.
Sharvin Muniandy top scored with 27 in Malaysia’s total of 134 for eight before the bowlers shot Vanuatu out for 108 with morning centurion Patric Matautavaa out for 12.
Fitri Sham bowled Matautavaa to leave Vanuatu on 30-3 after Sharvin and Pavandeep claimed the wickets of openers Joshua Rasu and Andrew Mansale respectively by also having them bowled.
After Vanuatu put on 40 runs for the fourth wicket, Pavandeep struck twice in four deliveries to have both Clement Tommy and Ronald Tari out leg-before with Wafiq also getting in on the act with two wickets in three balls by ending the resistance of Nalin Nipiko for 42 and having Jamal Vira trapped leg-before as Vanuatu slipped to 96-7.
Earlier, Malaysia lost opener Virandeep Singh for one in a run out and were reduced to 37-3 inside six overs after Nipiko removed Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak (15) and Ainool Hafizs Yatim (22) in the space of five balls.
After Ahmad Zubaidi Zulkifle fell for 22, Sharvin and Ariff Jamaludeen contributed to a 36-run stand before Mansale induced an inside edge to dismiss the former for 27 and Ariff (17) skied a shot off Nipiko, who completed the catch himself.
Ainool Haqqiem Yatim added 12 and Fitri ended unbeaten on 15 lower down the order as Nipiko and Mansale claimed three wickets each.
The series continues with the fourth match at Kinrara on Thursday afternoon.
Malaysia 134-8 (Sharvin Muniandy 27, Ahmad Zubaidi 22, Ariff Jamaludeen 17, Nalin Nipiko 3-22, Andrew Mansale 3-34)
Vanuatu 108 in 17.1 overs (Nalin Nipiko 42, Tommy Clement 18, Wafiq Irfan 3-10, Pavandeep Singh 3-12, Fitri Sham 2-22)
Result: Malaysia won by 26 runs