Kuala Lumpur: China may have the world's biggest population and the second largest economy, but they are yet to impress in one area: the cricket field, where they have been humbled by minnows Nepal.
China's latest foray on the international stage ended in a huge defeat on Wednesday as they scored only 26 all out in a World Twenty20 qualifier, a total which Nepal surpassed in just 11 balls.
It wasn't even their worst innings of the tournament: China were 26 all out in their loss to Singapore, and they had scores of 35 for nine, 45, and 48 in defeats to Thailand, Bhutan and Myanmar.
Given that the highest score in top-tier T20 internationals is Australia's 263 for three against Sri Lanka in 2016, China still have some way to go.
Against Nepal, opening batsman Yan Hongjiang top-scored for China with 11 runs. The next biggest contribution was the nine extras, and IPL bowler Sandeep Lamichhane picked up three wickets for four runs.
Qun Tiansen, one of eight Chinese players out for a duck, then went for 21 runs in his first and only over as Binod Bhandari smashed 24 in Nepal's quickfire reply of 29-0.
Cricket in China has a short history with its national team making its first international appearance at the 2010 Asian Games.
The giant nation is known for ploughing huge sums into sports, especially football and the Olympic disciplines. But cricket does not enjoy a similar status in China.
"The size of country and its power do not matter (in cricket)," former Nepal captain Binod Das told AFP in Kathmandu.
"We shouldn't undermine them because they may takeover in future as they have capacity to invest in infrastructure and skill development." Nepal, meanwhile, gained ODI status in March and have now set their sights on joining the world's elite by achieving Test status.
A former official with Nepal's cricket association, Chhumbi Lama, said the victory over China was always a formality for the small, Himalayan nation.
"China might be stronger in terms of power and economy than Nepal, but Nepal is stronger than China when it comes to cricket. Beating China is not a big achievement for Nepal," he told AFP. (AFP)
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