A skillful game of cricket ended today, at Prem Tinsulanonda ground, in Qatar's favour, as they ran out easy winners over Bhutan by 101 runs.

Sajjad drives majestically for a boundary

Coming into this game, Bhutan knew the opposition inside out, especially Tamoor Sajjad (37), and the damage he can cause. What would have been a turning point in the game occurred in only the second ball when Sajjad, uncharacteristically, nicked a ball to the slips. The speed of pace man Thinley Jamtsho (0-34), plus the touch, was a little too much for Captain Jigme Singye in the slips as he squandered, what was, a vital chance.

Thinley Jamthso

The opening overs saw Qatar face, undoubtedly, their toughest bowling attack, as Jamtsho and Dilip Subba (0-29) bowled out of their skins to contain the batsmen. Sajjad and Mohammed Taha (18) were held down, maybe even a little surprised, by the pace and accuracy from Bhutan, as Qatar were now tested for the first time in this tournament.

The bowling of Bhutan may have been close to perfection at the start but the fielding, at times, let them down. A clear run out opportunity missed and a few fielding errors that led to boundaries would've been something they could've tightened up on.

Lakshmi Prasad Kami: Bowling over opponents

Although these errors were committed, the energy levels of the Bhutanese never dimmed. The on-field buzz saw results when the change in bowling attack put Qatar in a tight spot when Lakshmi Kami (4-36) , after his five-wicket haul in the previous game, picked up two wickets in consecutive balls and Pema Thinley (3-48), got one, in their opening overs.

The jubilation of the previous three wickets was nothing in comparison to when Thinley trapped danger-man Sajjad LBW soon after with the score at 64-4.

Bhutan celebrate the wicket of Sajjad

The first batting highlight in the game came when Fahad Ghulam (81) slammed three fours in one over. Bhutan were definitely not going to be outdone after all their work and Thinley and Kami bounced back to take one and two more wickets respectively.

Ghulam rushes for a second run

From here on in, the innings turned slowly in favour of Qatar as Ghulam smashed twelve fours and two sixes to get his total score from 68 balls and along with Abdul Rehman (24) put on, what was most definitely, the match-winning 91 – run partnership. Qatar soon went on to lose those two wickets and finished, considering how they started, at a very satisfying 213 – 9 in 40 overs.

Qatar Captain Tamoor Sajjad

Bhutan are a team not well-known for their batting performances and this showed when Kinley Wangchuk (0) fell in only the second over, courtesy of a well-taken catch in the slips by Captain Tamoor Sajjad. Sanjeevan Gurung (9) and Kencho Norbu (22) were the masterminds behind some beautiful stroke play before Norbu fell victim to the spot-on bowling of Pradeep Kumar (1-19).

Beautiful shots may have been present, but Bhutan would've preferred it if their batsmen stayed long enough to play more like them – a combination of very good and very poor batting all at once. Two quick wickets fell as Thinley Jamtsho (1) was bowled by Sajjad (3-19) and Norbu was unluckily dismissed when his bat may have nicked the ground and not the ball as he was given out caught behind.

Bhutanese Captain Jigme Singye (25) and Anand Chettri (8) made a quick fire 31-run partnership as Singye made his score of a speedy 16 balls. None of the lower order batsmen were able to put in any strong performances and Bhutan were once again all bowled out. This time the bottom order collapsed to both Sajjad and Ali Ishtiaq (3-18) in the next seven overs for a total score of 112 after 23 overs leaving Qatar the winners by 101 runs.

Fahad Ghulam: A match-winner

For a match-winning contribution of 81 runs, Fahad Ghulam took home the Man of the Match award.

Bhutan v Qatar at Prem, Chiang Mai
Qatar won the toss and elected to bat
Qatar: 213 – 9 in 40 overs (T. Sajjad 37, F. Ghulam 81; L. Kami 4-36, P. Thinley 3-48)
Bhutan: 112 all out after 23 overs (T. Sajjad 3-19, A. Ishtiaq 3-18)

Man of the Match: Fahad Ghulam (Qatar)

Filed December 18 2006