MALAYSIA stunned Hong Kong by 12 runs at the Kinrara Oval today to qualify for the Women's Twenty20 Asia Cup on merit for the first time in a historic achievement for women's cricket in the country.
On a day when rain wreaked havoc with the ACC Women's T20 Championship semi-finals, Malaysia posted 86 for four before restricting Hong Kong to 74 for eight in a match reduced to 11 overs each.
In the final at Kinrara today, Malaysia meet the United Arab Emirates, who went through after their semi-final against Nepal was called off.
While Malaysia hosted the 2018 Women's Asia Cup and lost all five matches in the six-team tournament, the national team had not previously earned the distinction of qualifying on merit.
Hong Kong, 24th in the ICC's women's T20I rankings, won the toss and opted to field as Maryam Bibi accounted for Malaysian skipper Winifred Duraisingam fell for 26 runs off 21 balls before Mas Elysa Yasmin Zulkifli guided 33rd-ranked Malaysia to 86-4 with an unbeaten 33.
As the wickets kept falling, so did the run-rate. From 42-1 after four overs, Hong Kong lost wickets steadily to deadly Malaysian bowling led by Nik Nur Atiela (2-9) and Sasha Azmi (2-16).
With Hong Kong needing 20 runs off the final over to win, it was left to Mas Elysa to ensure that did not happen as the final bowler, to hand Hong Kong their first defeat of the tournament.
Heavy rain forced the abandonment of the other semi-final between World No 14 UAE and 17th-ranked Nepal.
Nepal dismissed UAE for 81 runs with one ball remaining after Ashmina Karmacharya took five wickets and Indu Barma three but never got the chance to bat.
Vaishnave Mahesh topscored with 16 runs for UAE, who advanced to the final at Kinrara today as the winners of Group A as Nepali fans vented their frustrations online.