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ICC Men’s T20WC Asia A Qualifier

Kuwait down Bahrain to open ICC Men’s T20WC Asia A Qualifier

T20 World Cup qualifiers

In the other game, hosts Qatar bounced back to rout Maldives by 98 runs as Rizlan hit 62.

Kuwaiti opener Ravija Sandaruwan forged a fine 78-run partnership with Adnan Idrees for the second wicket to bring high-flying Bahrain to the ground in an effortless six-wicket triumph on the second day of the ICC Men’s T20 WC Asia A Qualifier. At the Asian Town Stadium on Sunday, they restricted Bahrain at 124 fo 8 before chasing down the target in 11.3 overs for the important win in the five-team event.

Skipper Mohammed Aslam and Sayed Monib stalled the rivals who looked in an aggressive mood in the beginning. They grabbed five wickets between them to cause a collapse in which Bahrain lost five players for just 25 runs and were struggling at 67/6 at one stage. Aslam was declared the Player of the match for his three for 13 figures. 

Aslam commented after the ceremony, “We're very happy with the victory and the Player of the Match award. It is a positive start to the tournament, which is becoming open now. Yesterday Bahrain beat Qatar and we defeated Bahrain today. Our next match is against Saudi Arabia. Our plan is to go step by step and win all the matches.

"Our spinners did very well and played an important role in limiting Bahrain to a modest score. In the first powerplay, we struggled a bit as Bahrain scored over nine runs an over. But we put brakes on them.

"In the end, we could have won by a bigger margin to improve our net run-rate. Our players wanted to end with big hits and it cost them wickets. But hopefully, they will not repeat these mistakes. We've played with a positive mind and keep consolidating on this strong performance," Aslam added. 

The team managers of Kuwait and Bahrain
The team managers of Kuwait and Bahrain

On Day 1, Bahrain came up with a surprise performance and shocked hosts Qatar by eight wickets with Muhammad Younis smashing fiery 82 not out. Against Kuwait, Bahrain also launched an early onslaught through Sarfaraz Ali and Younis, with the duo scoring 38 in just three overs. Monib provided the much-needed breakthrough, getting rid of Ali for 28, a knock that included three sixes and two fours. Four runs later, Younis was also sent back for 13.

When it looked doubtful if Bahrain would reach three figures after quick dismissals, Sathaiya Veerapathiran and Imran Anwar put on an unbroken 36-run stand for the ninth wicket.

Kuwait were on a roll after an initial setback. They got 78 runs for the second-day wicket as Sandaruwan and Idrees worked the ball around with ease. Idrees was caught by Younis off Anasim Khan after cracking two sixes and four boundaries in 39. Sandaruwan and Meet Bhavsar should have taken the team through as they were batting with ease. However, both fell victim to their ambitions of ending the match with big hits.

After Bhavsar got out for 19 with one six and a four and Sandaruwan missed his half-century by a run, Bilal Tahir blasted a straight six off Sarfaraz Ali to complete the win in 11.3 overs. 

Player of the match: Mohammed Aslam of Kuwait 

Qatar vs Maldives

Vice-captain Mohammed Rizlan notched his maiden T20I half-century and fired hosts Qatar to hand a 98-run thrashing to Maldives in the second match on Sunday. With other batters failing to find their timing, Rizlan smashed three sixes and half a dozen fours to get 62 off 46 balls, which propelled the home team to 154/6. 

Qatar skipper Iqbal Hussain Choudhry and veteran Muhammad Tanveer chipped in with vital contributions. While Tanveer (20 off 22) was involved in a 79-run stand for the third wicket with Rizlan, Choudhry (22 not out off 11) and Muhammad Murad Khan (3 not out) gathered 25 runs off 15 balls to take the total past 150-mark. 

Qatar, who lost the opener to Bahrain by eight wickets, were determined to make up for that loss and bowled tight lengths. With no batter showing much intent, the hosts kept tightening the screws and shot them out finally for 56 with seven balls to go. 

Mohammed Nadeem and Choudhry were the wreckers in chief, taking seven wickets between them. Nadeem finished excellent figures of 4 for 10, while Choudhry took 3 wicket for 9. Besides this, he had two catches - one in deep and the other at slips. 

Qatar's Mohammed Rizlan was awarded the Player of the Match for his 46-ball 62
Qatar's Mohammed Rizlan was awarded the Player of the Match for his 46-ball 62

Choudhry expressed his happiness at the result and commented: “This was a much-needed win for us especially after the loss to Bahrain in the opening game. We wanted to win by 100 runs at least and all the bowlers worked towards that goal. However, we missed the objective by two runs. 

“I feel that this big victory will help us improve our net run-rate, which may be a deciding factor in the end. We have two big matches coming up against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Inshallah, we’ll go all out and do well in those games,” Choudhry added. 

Player of the Match Rizlan, who held a catch and effected a stumping besides the also scoring 62, was glad to find his touch when other batters were struggling. “The wicket is a bit soft and it is not allowing shot-making easily. I feel delighted to get my first T20I half-century in this important match. I hope to keep playing responsibly.” 

Player of the Match: Mohammed Rizlan of Qatar

Catch the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia A Qualifier on ICC.tv.

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