Five-star show in Quadrangular Series

SYAZRUL Ezat Idrus grabbed a hat-trick as the national team's record-setting spree continued at the Malaysia T20I Quadrangular Series with a rapid nine-wicket win over Thailand at the UKM Oval in Bangi today.

Malaysia needed just 23 balls to beat Thailand for a third win in as many matches in the quadrangular series after conceding the fewest runs in a T20I match, when dismissing Thailand for 30 in 13.1 overs.

The previous fewest runs conceded were the 58 runs Bhutan scored on Saturday.

Following on from their 2-1 series win over Singapore for the Stan Nagaiah Trophy, Malaysia have won five consecutive matches for their longest winning run since a seven-match streak in early 2020.

Syazrul set Malaysia on the way when he took the wickets of Sorawat Desungnoen, Jeerasak Phakhiokajee and Chaloemwong Chatpaisan in three consecutive deliveries in his opening bowling spell.

For good measure, man-of-the-match Syazrul also grabbed Thailand's fourth wicket when Narawit Nuntarach fell for seven, with Thailand having scored just 11 runs in six overs.

Virandeep Singh (3-7) was also on a hat-trick after dismissing Vichanat Singh and Phiriyaphong Suanchuai, but Yodsak Saranonnakkun fended off the hat-trick ball.

Khizar Hayat Durrani picked up two wickets, and while Pavandeep Singh went wicketless, he only conceded four runs in three overs.

Malaysia lost Ahmad Zubaidi Zulkiflie, whose 96 runs against Bhutan on Saturday was the highest individual score by a Malaysian in T20I cricket, to a first-ball golden duck before Virandeep (18) and Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak (15) steered the side to 34 runs in 3.5 overs without fuss.

"Full credit to our bowlers, especially Panvandeep, who maintained one run an over, and his partnership with Syazrul was fantastic," said captain Ahmad Faiz Noor, who sat out the second win against Bhutan.

"We tried to contain runs and get quick wickets. Credit to Thailand, who fought hard as well, and I hope they can come up with a good effort in the next game."

At the weekend, Malaysia defeated Bhutan by 155 runs and 39 runs for their first two wins of the series.

Aside from Zubaidi's highest individual score, Malaysia set three other T20I bests — the highest total of 213 runs, the biggest victory margin of 155 runs and the highest partnership of 140 runs between openers Zubaidi and Virandeep on Saturday.

Sunday saw Malaysia survive a batting collapse after changing the line-up, going from 41 for two to 43 for seven in 12 balls, before reaching 112 for nine thanks to an unbeaten 40 by No 10 Fitri Sham, while Virandeep took three wickets for four in four overs.

Malaysia play Maldives on Wednesday looking to seal a spot in the final.

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