Day three at the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup Asia Qualifier – Division One was a day of redemption for Nepal, while UAE stood strong atop the table and Singapore registered a surprise win.
Both teams had played twice coming into this game. Oman had won one, while Singapore had lost both of theirs, meaning both teams were attempting to up their game going into the remaining matches. It was the first time for either team to play at the beautiful Kinrara Oval.
Oman won the toss and chose to bat, and opening batsmen Adeel Abbas and Azam Ali were tied down initially. The innings began with 11 consecutive dot balls before Azam got Oman underway with a couple. Oman were away, and though Azam fell to the last ball of the fifth over, Adeel carried on to make 67. He received strong support from NJ Poojari, who made 62, while AS Sirah and P Kumble also supplied useful cameos as Oman finished with 244/9.
Singapore’s ask was a tough one, but they were given a strong start by their top order, all of whom passed 20. After 27.4 overs, rain interrupted proceedings, and when play resumed Singapore’s target was reduced to 179 needed off 37 overs. Wicket-keeper Aman Desai played a captain’s knock, finishing with 65, and though Singapore lost two wickets when within seven runs of the target, they squeezed home with eight balls and six wickets to spare in a tense finish. Desai’s innings earned him the Player of the Match award.
Nepal swept aside Malaysia in a whirlwind affair that lasted just five hours. After his side won the toss and chose to field, KS Airee struck straight away, dismissing Aslam Khan with his third ball, and Wan Amirul not long after. Wan Amirul was also no match for Airee, who took Amirul out at 4.2 with the score at 12.
Captain Muhammad Amir and Iezzat Daniel played out the first 10 overs to steady the ship somewhat, before the former was bowled by Pawan Sarraf for 13. He would strike again, dismissing Hakim Harissan for 10, but not before Kushal Malla had removed Vijay Unni for 4 and top scorer Daniel for 37. Each of those two bowlers would strike once more after S Dhakal chipped in with the scalp of Marzukh Hasnan, and a run out brought the innings to a close, Malaysia dismissed eight runs shy of 100.
Nepal made short work of the target, reaching it in 13 overs and giving their net run-rate a welcome boost. Opening batsman Rit Gautam played the anchor role, scoring 39 unbeaten runs, while each of Sarraf and Aasif Sheikh were more aggressive, scoring 19 off 14 and 26 off 18 respectively. Captain Rohit Paudel finished things off in style, striking his first ball for six to seal an eight-wicket win. Sarraf was honoured as Player of the Match for his 3/13 and 39*.
Over at Selangor Turf Club, UAE’s defeat of Kuwait was even more comprehensive, with the top-of-the-table clash wrapped up in just four hours.
Only opening batsman Gokul Kumar (14) made it into double figures as Kuwait were skittled for 56. Muhammad Farazuddin dismantled the top order, claiming the first three wickets, before UAE captan Aryan Lakra took over, claiming five of the final seven wickets to fall. KP Meiyappan chipped in with two wickets, and between them the three bowlers sent down all but one of the 26 overs needed to bowl out Kuwait, combining for seven maidens, and with none conceding more than 2.50 runs per over.
The chase was done and dusted within eight overs as UAE threw caution to the wind. Syed Haider top scored with 27 off 16 before being run out, while V Araving also chipped in with 15 off 10. UAE ran out winners by seven wickets with Lakra proclaimed Player of the Match.
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