Saudi Arabia keep hopes alive; Oman qualify for semi-finals

The fourth day of the ICC U19 Men's World Cup Asia Division 2 Qualifier in Bangkok saw Saudi Arabia play Bhutan at TCG and Oman face Hong Kong, China at AIT. The match at AIT was a top-of-the-table contest in Group B as Oman and Hong Kong, China had won their opening matches but Saudi Arabia and Bhutan were hoping for better things in their contest at TCG after defeats in the first round of matches.

It was an exciting day of cricket with Oman confirming their place in the semi-finals with their victory by 53 runs over Hong Kong, China at AIT and Saudi Arabia keeping their hopes alive by beating Bhutan by one wicket at TCG after looking down and out.

At TCG, Bhutan have won the toss and decided to bat first and they started well against the medium pace of Fahad Munir and the slow left-arm spin of Ahmed Faisal. Faisal bowled Tshering Rigden for 18 from 18 balls with 4 fours but No.3 Tenzin Rabgay went for his shots despite the wicket. Ronak Pradhan batted more cautiously but they combined well as they brought up the 50-run partnership for the second wicket. Bhutan were very well-placed at 83 for 1 after 15 overs.

Arhan Arif ended Tenzin Rabgay’s attractive innings and Saudi Arabia scalped another to dismiss. Bhutan were 95 for 3 after 20 overs and progressed to 114 at the halfway stage of the innings as Ronak along with Ugyen Dorji steadied the ship. The run-rate slowed down but Bhutan were intent on facing their full 50 overs.

Bhutan’s 150 came up in the 35th over with Ronak Pradhan and Ugyen Dorji still at the crease but Ronak’s patient innings ended on 34 from 88 balls as he was caught and bowled by Taha Amre and the fifth wicket fell soon afterwards as Kishan Subba was out for 1 as Taha claimed his third wicket.

As Bhutan’s lower order struggled, Taha claimed another scalp and finished with excellent figures of 4/27. Jigme Tenzin hit two boundaries but Bhutan could only put up 178 on board in 47 overs.

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Saudi Arabia lost openers Shahzad Sami and Rayyan Khan early in their chase before Mohammad Zuber and Mohammad Rehan came together to rebuild the innings. Zuber took a liking to the spin bowling introduced in the 8th over and courtesy off a boundary each in the last two overs of the Powerplay, Saudi Arabia reached 56.

Zuber was on the charge, having smashed five boundaries spinners but he was out caught and bowled by Ajith Limbu for 31 from 42 balls with the score on 70/3.

Bhutan turned back to pace and Jigme Tenzin struck soon by bowling Hashir out for 10 and they soon lost half their side as new batter Anas was run out without scoring. The well-set Rehan too soon departed with Jigme striking the crucial blow yet again.

Saudi Arabia kept losing wickets as Saudi Arabia slipped to 117/8. The lower order fought hard and Omair Ahmed's boundaries renewed their hopes. Omair and Ahmed Faisal batted sensibly by milking singles as Saudi Arabia started inching closer to the target.

Saudi Arabia were 10 runs away from victory when Tenzin Rabgay removed Omair for 23 but not before the 9th wicket pair added 52 priceless runs. 

The final-wicket pair held their nerve as Ahmed Faisal - who remained unbeaten on 22 from 63 balls – hit the winning runs with a boundary down to fine leg and kept Saudi Arabia’s hopes to progress in the tournament still alive

At AIT, Oman won the toss and chose to bat against Hong Kong, China but lost Jeet Shah and Gaurav Dinesh inside the Powerplay. Rishan Shah kept the pressure on Oman with two more wickets as Hong Kong, China's bowlers were on top with Oman at 41/4 in 17 overs.

Oman recovered thanks to a 110-run partnership between Aneek Chakrovarty and Rahil Habibulla with both batters reaching their half-century milestones. Daniel Mapp finally made the breakthrough as he had Habibulla caught by captain Shiv Mathur and Aneek was bowled by Shah for 51.

Once the partnership was broken, Shah went on a rampage and finished with figures of 7/21 in his 8 overs. Oman did well to reach 180 after recovering from 41/4.


Oman had a dream start with the ball as Dinesh trapped Aarez Dar for a duck and then dismissed Arya caught and bowled for 8 in his second over. Shiv Mathur and Matthew Clayton led the recovery with a 47-run stand before Clayton was run out for 28 from 69 balls.

The pressure was mounting on the batters as Khrish Butani was also run out before Mathur became the fifth wicket to fall.

Daniel Mapp put up a fight with 26 off 46 balls but was the last wicket to fall at 127 as were bowled out for 127 in 46 overs. Oman registered their second win of the competition by 53 runs to cement their first place in Group A.

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