Vanuatu sealed a Twenty20 International series with Malaysia 3-1 with a match to spare after securing a six-wicket win in the fourth game at the Kinrara Oval on Thursday.
Nalin Nipiko hit a huge six off Virandeep Singh to guide Vanuatu to 145 for four with five balls to spare and overhaul Malaysia’s total of 144 for seven even as all-rounder Ariff Jamaludeen scored his first fifty in a T20I.
After winning the first two matches and losing the third by 26 runs on Wednesday, 52nd-ranked Vanuatu bounced back in the fourth to ensure Friday’s final fixture is of academic interest. The defeat was World No 36 Malaysia’s eighth in their last 10 T20Is.
After impressing with the ball in the third game, the Malaysian bowlers were punished handily as Vanuatu’s opening pair of Joshua Rasu and Andrew Mansale raced to 84 inside 11 overs before the former was dismissed by Sharvin Muniandy for 50 off 40 balls.
Sharvin also took the wicket of Mansale, who fell for 38 off 31, before Pavandeep Singh bowled Patric Matautaava, the only centruy-maker in the series so far, for 12 to reduce Vanuatu to 105-3 with five overs left.
Despite using seven bowlers, Malaysia could not prevent Vanuatu from marching to victory as Pavandeep and Wafiq Irfan Zarbani, who each took three wickets in the third match, could only snare one apiece this time at a cost of 34 and 30 runs respectively off four overs.
Earlier, Malaysia recovered from falling to 37-3 thanks to a fifth-wicket stand of 44 runs between Ariff and Virandeep (31) on the way to posting their highest total of the series.
Ariff playing in only his fourth T20I, hit six fours and a six off 31 balls for 52 runs, reaching his maiden half-century with a boundary.
A reshuffled Malaysian batting line-up saw Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak and Anwar Aruding opening with Virandeep dropping to No 5. Anwar was out for six going for the boundary, having now failed to score more than 11 runs in his last seven T20I innings.
Ahmad Zubaidi Zulkifle was bowled the next over by Jelany Chillia before Syed Aziz edged a delivery from Apolinaire Stephen to the wicketkeeper for 21.
Malaysia 144-7 (Ariff Jamaludeen 52 not out, Virandeep Singh 31, Syed Aziz 21, Apolinaire Stephen 2-15)
Vanuatu 145-4 in 19.1 overs (Joshua Rasu 50, Andrew Mansale 38, Nalin Nipiko 23 not out, Sharvin Muniandy 2-18)
Result: Vanuatu won by 6 wickets