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ICC T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier: Vijay Unni takes four-wicket as Malaysia qualify for Asia Regional final

Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], August 1 (ANI): Vijay Unni ripped the heart out of Thailand's middle order with a spell of 4-23 on the final day of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier B. His spell allowed Malaysia to bowl Thailand out for 93 before Syed Aziz made short work of the chase with an unbeaten 45.

Malaysia's victory allows them to advance to November's Asia Regional final, which will take place in Nepal. The top two teams from the Regional Final will progress to the 2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

After being put into bat, Thailand got off to a steady start. Sorawat Desungnoen drove Pavandeep Singh down the ground for four in the second over. Three balls later, attempting to repeat the shot, he was dropped by Ainool Hafeez at mid-off who parried the ball to the boundary.

Pavandeep would get his revenge in his next over after Desungnoen top-edged the left-arm spinner to Amir Azim at long-on.

In spite of Pavandeep trapping Phiriyapong Suanchuai in front in the eighth over, Thailand were able to keep their run rate around a healthy 5.5 runs an over.

Vijay Unni, however, changed the course of the game by taking three wickets in the 13th over, which included bowling Robert Raina from around the wicket and trapping Yodsak Saranonnakun in front for a golden duck. The icing on the cake was when Narawit Nuntarach dragged the last ball of Unni's over back onto his stumps to leave Thailand reeling at 73 for seven after 13 overs.

Batting at nine, Nopphon Senamontree chipped in with a useful 13, but Thailand could only post 93, getting bowled out in the 19th over.

In pursuit of 94, Malaysia got off to a flier. Ahmad Zubaidi laid into star bowler Jandre Coetzee, smashing him down the ground for four before pulling him over the ropes in the third over, which went for 14.

Zubaidi was dismissed for 19 when he skied Chalermwong Chatphaisan to Sarawut Maliwan. Skipper Ahmad Faiz was next to go, getting bowled by Robert Raina.

Yet, at 49 for two in the seventh over, and with Syed Aziz still at the crease, Malaysia was still in control of the chase.

The left-hander maintained a low dot ball percentage, and dispatched Thailand's bowlers to the boundary anytime they bowled too wide or strayed down the leg side. He closed out the chase in the 12th over with a slash through the off side.

Vijay Unni earned the Player-of-the-match award for his pivotal spell, whilst Virandeep Singh was crowned Player-of-the-tournament for scoring 102 runs and picking up four wickets in as many matches.

Brief scores: Malaysia 96/3 (Syed Aziz 45, Zubaidi 19, Raina 2-17) Thailand 93/10 (Akshay kumar Yadav 23, Unni 4-23, Khizar Hayat 2-15). (ANI)