Brilliant hundred for Akram takes Malaysia into semi-finals but Kuwait top Group A with three wins

The fifth day of the ICC U19 Men's World Cup Asia Division 2 Qualifier in Bangkok saw the conclusion of Group A with all four teams at least in with a mathematical chance of reaching the semi-finals. Kuwait had won both their matches and faced Bahrain who had one win. Malaysia also had one win and they played Thailand who lost both matches but could still get into a three-team tie on two points.

The final positions in the table could have been decided on net run-rate, so it was going to be an exciting day, but it was dominated by Muhammad Akram of Malaysia who became the first man to make a hundred in this tournament as he hit 114 in a total of 241 against Thailand at TCG. Malaysia joined Kuwait in the semi-finals who gained their third win by beating Bahrain by 75 runs at AIT.

Thailand won the toss and elected to field against Malaysia. Opening bowlers Natpakhan and Paphawit were hoping for early wickets but the Malaysian batters took control as both Amzar and Aalif hit a pair of boundaries to end the Powerplay on 42 for 0. Thailand turned to spin, and Phanuwat bowled a maiden, but Malaysia reached 50 in the 16th over with no wicket down.

Malaysia lost their first wicket with the score on 57 as Aalif was caught by Jetsada off Phanuwat's bowling for 29 from 50 balls. The first rain of the tournament took the players off with the score on 65 for one from 18.2 overs.

Play restarted after a 30-minute break with no overs lost. A second wicket soon followed as Amzar fell for 16 from 53 balls also caught at slip off Phanuwat. Akram was an elegant left-hander who quickly hit four boundaries and he was batting with Ammar as Malaysia reached their 100 in the 25th over.

Thailand claimed their third wicket with the score on 128 as Ammar was bowled by Pattarapol for 24 after a partnership of 63, but Akram was still going strong as he reached his 50 from 57 balls with 5 fours. Malaysia were 143 for 3 in 35 overs and looked set for a big score unless Thailand could take some wickets.

Rayarac did take the fourth wicket but he was carried off the field in the middle of his third over. Malaysia were 175 for 4 in 40 overs and Akram was already the leading run-scorer in the tournament and had made the highest individual score.

Malaysia brought up their 200 in 45 overs and Akram was approaching his 100. Instructions were given by the coaches for the tail-enders to support him but wickets were falling. Nothing worried Akram as he pushed the singles to reach 97 and then completed his 100 with a six over long on. His century came off 111 balls and he finished on 114 as Malaysia made 241 for 7.


Thailand had a big task on their hands with a target of 242 in 50 overs, and they had a new opening pair as left-handed keeper Danuphon was promoted to open with Dechaphon. Danuphon normally goes for his shots from the start, but it was Dechaphon who hit three boundaries in 16 before he was caught behind.

Danuphon had now found his feet, and Thailand reached 50 in the 14th over. There were no signs of panic for Malaysia yet, but this was a much better performance from Thailand.

Thailand looked on course for their best total of the competition at 71 for 1 in 20 overs, but number three Pattarapol was bowled for 17 in 44 balls, and Natpakhan could not repeat his innings of 50 from the previous match. Danuphon was keeping his composure on 32 as Thailand were 82 for 3 in 25 overs.

Qaleef Khalid took three wickets with his slow left-arm spin, so Thailand were five wickets down with the score on 90. The 100 was up in the 35th over with Danuphon still on 41, but he was caught and bowled by Hadiff in the next over after a good, disciplined effort as he learned to play 50-over cricket.

Once Danuphon was the sixth out on 101, it was just a question of how many overs Thailand could survive. Jetsada lasted until the 41st over, then Paphawit was out in the 42nd. Rayarac followed in the 44th. The last pair was at the crease, and at least Phanuwat hit a boundary, and Chinnathip promptly hit two fours.

Thailand were bowled out for 128 in 47 overs as Malaysia won by 113 runs to finish second in the table and qualify for the semi-finals.

Bahrain knew that they needed to beat Kuwait to have a chance of progressing to the semi-finals, so they put Kuwait in to bat first after winning the toss. Kuwait scored 29 runs in the first 10 overs, with Hinsu on 16 and Melrick on only 4, as Bahrain made a tidy start with the ball.

Kuwait's openers were going well as the score reached 75 for no loss after 20 overs, and Hinsu reached his 50 from 59 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes, with Melrick providing steady support.

Kuwait were 96 for 2 at the 30-over mark, with the first wicket falling at 77 as Hinsu departed for exactly 50, and his opening partner Melrick was bowled for a sedate 17.

Kuwait were intent on batting the full 50 overs but were content with a run-rate of three an over as they reached 123 for 2 after 40 overs. Jay Mehta and Shaies looked set to increase the rate in the last 10 overs.

Kuwait reached 150 in the 44th over and lost Shaies for 23. Jay Mehta was able to reach his 50 in 72 balls before he was out for 64, but Kuwait had reached 187 for 4 in the 48th over. Ten runs came from the 49th over, and the 200 came up in the last over. Kuwait finished on 201 for 6 as 78 runs came in the last 10 overs. Bahrain now had quite a task to beat Kuwait and stay ahead of Malaysia in the table.


Bahrain started well against Kuwait's new ball bowlers who had ripped through Thailand's top order in the last match. Aryan Ashwin was out for 10, but Bahrain were 48 for 1 before spinner Janath began to work his way through Bahrain's batters. He took three wickets in his first three overs as Bahrain collapsed to 57 for 5 in 13 overs. Opener Abhinav was still at the crease, but Kuwait looked well on course for their third victory.

Bahrain were recovering as Abhinav was still there, and they were 76 for 5 in 20 overs. Kuwait had to wait, but Bahrain's resistance finally broke as Joswin D'Souza was out for 3 from 39 balls, and Abhinav was forced to retire hurt on 42 from 71 balls. Hamdan was Jay Mehta's second wicket, and Bahrain were 98 for 7 from 30 overs.

Janath finished with 4 for 27 with his off-spin as he had Tayyab Zahir caught behind. Number 11 Azhar was lbw to Abdullah, but opener Abhinav came back to the crease to continue his innings.

Kuwait bowled out Bahrain for 126 in 37.4 overs as Ayan Khan was out for 12, but Abhinav had just completed his 50 from 78 balls with a single four. Kuwait had won by 75 runs to gain their third victory and top Group A, and they were joined in the semi-finals by Malaysia, who had beaten Thailand by 113 runs.

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