Malaysia v UAE, Johor Cricket Academy

This game was a treat for connoisseurs as two evenly-matched sides met up in a game that showed the strengths of both countries' youth development programs.

Malaysia won the toss and elected to field under slightly overcast conditions. The Malaysian seamers would have been disappointed with being unable to make the initial breakthrough as the UAE openers Aashish Dhingra and Naresh Gunesekar batted steadily to register a stand of 58 before Gunasekar was bowled by diminutive spinner Elmi Abdul Rahman.

The runs mounted steadily for the Emirates team as another solid stand took them past the hundred mark in the 25th over. Pranav Arora played particularly enterprisingly, being unafraid to hit the ball over the top. Malaysia stuck to their task manfully in the field however and the dismissal of opener Dhingra to a sharp run-out as he looked for the single that would take him to 50, closely followed by the dismissal of Arora brought Malaysia right back into the game.

Malaysia's spinners and fielders applied a great deal of pressure and from a position of 133 for 3, the remaining seven UAE wickets fell for just 19 more runs. Left-arm spinner Saravana Raj taking 3-24.

Saravana Raj

Chasing 153 to win, Malaysia would have been confident of victory but the UAE bowlers kept a tight grip on proceedings from the start. Opening with a spinner, the tall Ahmad Raza, who particularly disconcerted Malaysia's top order with his turn and bounce, the UAE pretty much suffocated the opposition.

Malaysia at one stage, 41 for 5 after 17 overs were never able to reach the required run-rate. Though they felt on a couple of occasions the rub of the green went against them, none of Malaysia's batsmen ever got a handle on the UAE attack and in the end, fell 21 runs short of their target.

It was never less than a gripping contest all day and though UAE took the honours they know that should they meet Malaysia again in the later-stages of the tournament, the result may well be reversed.

Man of the Match: Aashish Dhingra (UAE)

Scorecard

Filed August 6 2005