Thursday, 12 June 2014 00:00
Bahrain lose to table-toppers, Kuwait and Singapore beat Maldives and Bhutan in ACC Elite League matches
Saudi Arabia continued its impressive run in the 2014 Asian Cricket Council Elite League in Singapore, winning its third consecutive game to consolidate its position at the top of the points table. On Tuesday (10), Bahrain became its latest victim, Saudi Arabia sauntering to a seven-wicket win at the Indian Association Ground.
After Hammad Saeed and Shahbaz Rasheed starred with centuries during Saudi Arabia’s 300-run victory over Bhutan on Sunday, it was Ibrarul Haq’s bowling that was instrumental in its victory on Tuesday. Ibrarul ran through the Bahrain middle order to return 4 for 42 and helped restrict it to 159 after asking Bahrain to bat.
Bahrain started well enough, Janaka Chaturanga and Adnan Butt putting on 40 for the opening wicket within seven overs. However, three wickets in the space of 18 runs undid their good work. Ibrarul broke the stand with the dismissal of Butt, before Afzal Saleem had Mirza Baig trapped in front and Chaturanga was caught behind off Mohammad Nadeem.
Mirza Yaqoob and Adil Hanif then added 44 for the fourth wicket but Akram Aslam trapped Hanif in front of the stumps for 17 and Bahrain never really recovered after that. Yaqoob was vigilant, scoring an 86-ball 51 that included three fours and two sixes, before his knock was brought to an end by Faheem Arfad late in the innings. Bahrain was bowled out in 42.5 overs.
In its chase, Saudi Arabia lost Ibrarul and Saeed early on to be reduced to 15 for 2. But Abdul Waheed and Rasheed added 100 runs for the third wicket to more or less seal the game. The stand was broken when Yaqoob had Rasheed dismissed for 47, a knock that included five fours and two sixes. But Afzal Saleem partnered Waheed and the two saw the chase through in 35.3 overs. Waheed ended on an unbeaten 75, inclusive of six fours and two sixes.
Kuwait trumps Maldives
Elsewhere, at the Kallang Ground, Kuwait sealed a 57-run win over Maldives despite putting up a low total after being asked to bat. Maldives’s bowlers impressed as they bowled out Kuwait for 153 in 48.1 overs but still ended up on the losing side after its batsmen imploded to lose by 57 runs.
Kuwait had its back against the wall early on, with Ibrahim Hassan dismissing two of the top three, all of whom departed for single-digit scores. At 20 for 3, Ali Zaheer and Mohammed Ghulam provided some resistance, adding 25 for the fourth wicket, but the stand was broken as Abdullah Shahid sent back Zaheer. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals thereafter, with the middle and lower order putting on brief stands to take the total past the 150-run mark. Hassan ended with 3 for 21 in 9 overs, while Shahid returned 3 for 27.
However, the target proved beyond Maldives. Only three batsmen scored in double digits, as it was bowled out in 27.5 overs. Mohamed Rishwan’s 62-ball 39 was the only knock of note, while Shahid, the opener, and Mohamed Mahfooz, the No. 8 batsman, both scored 12. For Kuwait, Mohammad Faizan Ali returned 3 for 21, while Mudassar Ali, Abdul Jabar and Saad Khalid claimed two wickets apiece.
Singapore rolls over Bhutan
Over at The Padang, Bhutan was at the receiving end of another heavy defeat, this time at the hands of Singapore. Bhutan lost by 282 runs after Singapore, having opted to bat, ended with a massive 388 for 9. That despite an incredible performance from Tenzin Wangchuk, who returned 6 for 73 in his ten overs.
Arjun Mutreja and Rezza Gaznavi, the Singapore openers, set the tone for the innings as they put on a boundary-filled 197. However, both were dismissed in their 90s. Mutreja was the first to fall, his 67-ball knock of 92, which included 14 fours and a six, ended by Wangchuk. Then, Gaznavi followed after an 83-ball 96, Suprit Pradhan effecting his dismissal.
Despite that, Singapore carried on, propelled by a fourth-wicket stand of 48 between Chaminda Ruwan (32) and Christopher Janik (24), and an eighth-wicket association of 94 between Abjiraj Singh (42) and Mulewa Dharmichand (57 not out).
Bhutan got off to a poor start and it didn’t recover from the early setback. It was reduced to 26 for 2 after the dismissal of its openers, Manoj Adhikari and Sanjong Chhetri. Thinley Jamtsho (28) was then involved in two brief stands – 21 for the third wicket with Jigme Singye (12) and 34 for fourth wicket with Sonam Togbay (24). However, the rest of the line-up was dismissed for single-digit scores and Bhutan’s innings ended in 45.3 overs.
After the third round of matches, Saudi Arabia sits at the top with a two-point lead over Singapore, Kuwait and Maldives, all of whom have four points each.