Saudi Arabia took advantage of every weakness in China to win by 150 runs in the last Bangkok group match. Saudi Arabia next play Maldives in a play-off for 5th and 6th place.

Basim Qadir hits out against Zhao Xu

Statistics don't quite reveal how much China have improved from their performance against Iran two days earlier; the Chinese bowled 68 wides but in between the loose deliveries, the Saudi batsmen were tested considerably. Mohammed Zubair fell to the second ball of the day bowled by the consistently impressive left-arm pace man Chen Xiudong. He bowled only five wides, on his way to 2-30 off his eight overs.

China 's ground fielding wasn't quite as ragged as they showed against Iran but a dropped chance again cost them dearly. The Saudi captain Abdul Samad, one of the tournament's undoubted talents was dropped when on 11 by Xu Jiabin running in from mid-on, the ball bouncing out at waist-height. A big miss.

Samad and Muneeb pass the 100-partnership

Samad, playing within himself, set his stall out for a big score. Most of his runs were scored behind square, as he cruised to 50 off 52 balls (six 4s). He and Muneeb Ali put on 125 for the second wicket at better than a run-a-ball before Samad was caught by the bucket-hands of Du Jinglong at mid-on.

Wides were the bane of China's existence but You Guangsheng, who dismissed Samad, bowed in his first spell at least, with pace, bounce and accuracy sufficient to trouble any batsmen at this level.

China 's enthusiasm levels remained high throughout as they kept plugging away taking wickets; Meshal Qureishi fell to a super catch by Zhan Jinhui running backwards from point to take the catch above his head. In between the wickets, however, the Saudi batsmen were able to score quite freely.

Saudi Arabia were content with their 243 for 7 after 40 overs.

The first twenty runs of China's innings were extras, until Zhan Jinhui skewed a yorker to fine-leg in the third over. A re-jigged batting order showed China's intent to be more positive than on previous occasions and for a while, the game was full on. Balls for fetched from outside off to leg, betraying the baseballing origins of the Chinese batsmen nevertheless, not many false shots were played.

Du Jinglong ('Mountain Man') was run-out, two balls later Xu Jiabin lofted to mid-on, and China were up against it. China went into defensive mode. Samad set more attacking fields. Chen Zhifa having opened, was fifth out for 14 lbw to the left-arm medium pace Mohammad Adil.

Chen Zhifa lbw to Adil


Mohammed Adil receives the Man of the Match award from Match Referee
Anil Tawani

And the Chinese wall crumbled.

China take heart from their first competitive outing, and Saudi Arabia move through to a 5th and 6th place playoff against the Maldives.

China v Saudi Arabia at RBSC Polo Ground
China won the toss and elected to field
Saudi Arabia : 243 for 7 off 40 overs (M. Ali 40, A. Samad 64; D. Jinlong 3-47)
China : 93 off 20 overs (M. Adil 4-16)

Man of the Match: Mohammed Adil (Saudi Arabia)

Filed December 19 2006