Saudi Arabia’s Hisham Sheikh turned out to be an inspirational skipper, steering his team to a thrilling four-wicket triumph over hosts and favorites Qatar in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Sub Regional Qualifier A on Friday.
At the West End International Stadium on Match Day 2, Kuwait produced another cakewalk through opener Meet Bhavsar as they hammered Maldives by seven wickets after pegging down the rivals at a modest total.
The home team, despite being fresh from beating the Saudi side by seven wickets in the Gulf Trophy T20 recently, suffered two collapses after choosing to bat first. As a result, they could manage a meagre 109 in 19.3 overs.
Saudi Arabia did have a few anxious moments during the chase. However, captain Sheikh, following up his four for 14, hit an undefeated 29 in 33 balls with a four to see this team through in 19.3 overs. He and Zain Ul Abidin mustered 35 runs for the sixth wicket before the latter fell four runs before the target.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia gave away three quick wickets after Faisal Khan (28 in 18 balls 6x3 4x2) and Abdul Waheed (25 in 21 balls with a six and three fours) smashed 52 in 5.5 overs to lose a bit of their hold on the game. However, Sheikh ensured that they did not fumble on the home run and helped his team collect two valuable points.
Kuwait too strong for Maldives
Despite a 42-run opening wicket partnership, put together by Azyan Farhath (29 in 46 balls, 4x1 6x1) and skipper Umar Adam (28 in 20 balls, 4x1 6x2), Maldives, put in to bat first, found the going tough and barely reached 100 in their stipulated limit.
A lot of credit must go to the winners, whose sharp fielding resulted three run outs. Also their bowlers getting the ball at the right spots, Kuwait never relented their grip on the game.
Mohamed Aslam emerged as the best with two 11 in three overs with one being a maiden. Mohamed Shafeeq and Sayed Monib picked one each.
Kuwait did not have a good start and suffered two early blows, losing Ravija Sandaruwan and Clinto Anto to Leem Shafeeg. However, the small target never posed any problems and Bhavsar’s attractive batting at one end fashioned the second win in as many matches for his team in 12.2 overs.
His knock (60 not out off 41 deliveries with six boundaries) also dominated a 52-run stand for the third wicket with Usman Patel (22 in 16 balls with a six). Shafeeg finished two for 25 and Adam had one scalp for 23.
After two days of action, Kuwait stay on the top with two wins. Saudi follow them with being undefeated in two games as well but their NRR is slightly poorer than the Kuwaitis’. Qatar and Maldives are yet to open their account.
Maldives 100 for 7 (Azyan Farhath 29, Umar Adam 28; Mohamed Aslam 2/11) lost to Kuwait 103 for 3 in 12.2 overs (Meet Bhavsar 60 not out, Usman Patel 22; Leem Shafeeg 2/33) by seven wickets
Player of the match: Meet Bhavsar (Kuwait)
Qatar 109 all out in 19.3 overs (Saqlain Arshad 27, Mohammed Irshad 22; Hisham Sheikh 4/14, Ahmed Baladrof 2/10, Khalander Mustafa 2/12) lost to Saudi Arabia 110 for 6 in 19.4 overs (Abdul Waheed 25, Faisal Khan 28, Hisham Sheikh 29 not out, Zain Al Abidin 15 not out; Himanshu Rathod 2/21) by four wickets
Player of the match: Hisham Sheikh (Saudi Arabia)
Sat, Sep 30
Sun, Oct 01, 5th match 9:00
Qatar vs Maldives
6th match 13:30
Kuwait vs Saudi Arabia
ICC Men's T20 World Cup Sub Regional Asia Qualifier A
TEAM M W L PT NRR
KUW 2 2 0 4 2.532
KSA 2 2 0 4 1.634
QAT 2 0 2 0 -0.823
MDV 2 0 2 0 -3.255