Nevertheless, it was Kuwait who produced the performance of the day as they bowled out much fancied Hong Kong for just 118 on the way to a comprehensive victory at Gymkhana Club. Qatar were the day’s other winners as they beat hosts Thailand by six wickets.
Kuwait didn’t play on the opening day of the competition while Hong Kong had looked impressive as they beat China by 182 runs, but it was Kuwait who made an explosive start to the match at Gymkhana. Kuwait’s opening bowlers immediately caught the eye as they bowled with good pace and each took a wicket in their first over.
Hamza Qureshi was in fiery mood and he broke through Munir Khan’s defences as he was bowled for nought from the last ball of the opening over. Akhil Sajeev Nair then bowled a probing over at the other end and had the previous day’s centurion Kalhan Challu caught at short cover also without scoring and Hong Kong were soon in trouble.
Hong Kong were expected to be one of the favourites for this competition but their batsman continued to struggle against the pace of Qureshi and the control of Sajeev Nair. The latter finished with figures of 3 for 14 bowled in one spell of 10 overs and all of his victims were caught by Govind Kumar in the cover region.
When Aarush Bhagwat was out for 31 Hong Kong were 60 for five and they were soon in more trouble when Hamoud Amanullah took two wickets in two balls. Even though the number eleven Dhananjay Rao was able to hit the only six of the innings, Hong Kong were bowled out for 118 in 36.2 overs.
Kuwait started their reply after a ten minute break and Meet Bhavsar was in confident mood as the openers scored 41 in the first nine overs. Bhavsar made 30 from 36 balls with five fours and Kuwait were taken to a convincing victory by Nomaan Sidique and Abdul Sadiq, who shared an unbroken third wicket partnership of 54 as Kuwait reached 120 for 2 in just 25.2 overs.
Kuwait and Hong Kong now each have two points in Group B but it is Bahrain who are the pace setters in the Chiang Mai group as they gained their second win in two days, defeating China by 124 runs at Prem. Bahrain were made to work hard for runs by a wholehearted performance in the field from the Chinese as only two Bahrain batsmen reached double figures.
Risabh Ramesh (58) and Sajjad Khan (48) added 93 together for the fourth wicket and 39 extras helped to boost the total. It looked as though Bahrain were to become the first team to bat out 50 overs but it wasn’t to be as their last four wickets fell for 10 runs. Hou Rui had figures of 4 for 26 and Tain Sen Qun took 3 for 32 as Bahrain were dismissed for 180 in 49 overs.
China gave a resolute performance with the bat but their resistance couldn’t last after Chen Zhou Yue faced 33 balls for three runs, although Wei Guolei was more productive with 15 from 31 balls. China were bowled out for 56 as Mohammad Waleed took 3 for 9 and Bahrain went to the top of Group B on four points.
In Group A in Bangkok, Saudi Arabia also made it two wins out of two as they beat Bhutan by 43 runs at TCG. Bhutan would have been pleased with their effort in the field as they bowled out the Saudis for 97 in 28 overs with Ngawang Thinley taking 5 for 21.
Bhutan weren’t able to challenge a target of 98 as Ahmed Baladraf claimed remarkable figures of 4 for 7 in 9.4 overs with five maidens, and they were dismissed 54 in 29.4 overs to see Saudi Arabia go to the top of Group A on four points.
Qatar made their first appearance in the tournament as they faced Thailand at AIT and they also started in impressive fashion, defeating the hosts by six wickets.
Thailand made a total of 92 in 36.2 overs as number 10 Kokiad Chatwong hit an unbeaten 18 from 24 balls as he tried to repair the damage done by left-arm spinner Samil Sadiq, who claimed four wickets for 12 in his ten overs, while leg-spinner Subh Agarwal took 3 for 21.
Thailand’s spinners also bowled well as Sarawut Maliwan bowled his 10 overs for just 14 runs and Satarut Rongrueang took 3 for 17 as the Qatar batsmen began to lose patience. Saud Kamal hit 18 from 12 balls to see his side home with 12.2 overs to spare.
There are two more matches to be played on Tuesday with Qatar facing Oman at TCG in Bangkok and Kuwait playing Maldives at Prem in Chiang Mai. The two groups will reach the halfway stage after each side has played two matches in three days and we will see which other teams will join Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on four points in the respective tables.
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