In an exciting final day's cricket of the ACC Elite League in Singapore, the home nation did just what they had to do in winning by a massive margin against Maldives and then seeing Kuwait beat rivals Saudi Arabia to ensure overall victory by Net Run Rate after all three teams finished level on points with four wins each.

Going into the start of today's matches, Saudi Arabia were on top of the ACC Elite League with four wins out of four including an opening day victory over Singapore. Their Net Run Rate was also superior to everyone else's, though Kuwait and Singapore still had a chance of overhauling them. Singapore won the toss against Maldives and had no hesitation in electing to field. The decision paid off with a wicket in the first over and wickets fell steadily thereafter. Spinners Abhiraj Singh and Dharmichand Mulewa took three wickets each, with the teenage Singh taking a spectacular return catch to dismiss the dangerous Mohammed Rishwan. Chasing just 74 to win, Singapore only needed 30 balls to secure victory with Arjun Mutreja making 30 off 19 balls with four 4s and one 6.

Singapore's Chetan Suryawanshi

Singapore were now ahead of Saudi Arabia on Net Run Rate with an equal number of points, which meant that Saudi Arabia had to beat Kuwait to win the League. Saudi Arabia at this stage were still batting and struggling. Kuwait had them at 18 for 4 in the sixth over after Saudi Arabia were put in to bat in a match which started an hour late because of overnight rain. Saudi captain Afzal Saleem (59 off 92 balls, nine 4s and one 6), steadied things in a 91-run stand for the sixth wicket with Mohammad Abdullah (31 off 97, four 4s). Mohammad Nadeem made a quick-fire 56 at the end of the Saudi innings off just 34 with six 4s and three 6s. They finished on 205 off their 47 overs.

A 100 off 58 balls for Kuwait's Mohammad Irfan
Kuwait's pretensions to overall tournament victory disappeared with Singapore being so far ahead, nevertheless they were gunning to beat the Saudis from the outset. And had Mohammad Irfan been caught first ball off a miscued drive at third man and then twice more from edges to slip early on, things could have been different. Irfan survived and went on to make a rampaging 129 off just 68 balls (13 fours, nine 6s) and Kuwait raced home inside 25 overs. A very disappointed Saudi Arabia had to be content with second.

In the battle to not be relegated to the third tier of ACC cricket, the Challenge League, Bahrain beat Bhutan by 172 runs in making 317 for 8 off their 50 overs with major scores from Janaka Chaturanga (88 off 84 balls, six 4s and five 6s), Mirza Baig (72 off 77, four 4s and one 6) and Mirza Yaqoob (41 off 38, five 4s and one 6). Jigme Singye took 3 for 53. Jigme Singye made 42 (70 balls, three 4s and one 6), and Phuntso Wangdi hit out at the end with 35 off 34 with one four and two 6s but it was not enough. Junaid Niazi took 3 for 33 for Bahrain.

As champions of the 2014 ACC Elite League, Singapore now move up to the 2015 ACC Premier where they join the ACC ODI nations Afghanistan, Hong Kong and UAE as well as Nepal and Oman.

Saudi Arabia's captain Afzal Saleem was Player of the Tournament

ACC Elite League 2014, Day 5:

Bahrain v Bhutan at IA
Bhutan won the toss and elected to field
Bahrain: 317 for 8 off 50 overs (J.Chaturanga 88, M.Baig 72, M.Yaqoob 41; J.Singye 3-53)
Bhutan: 145 all out off 42.2 overs (J.Singye 42, K.Penjor 35; J.Niazi 3-33)
Man of the Match: Janaka Chaturanga (Bahrain)

Kuwait v Saudi Arabia at Kallang
Match reduced to 47 overs
Kuwait won the toss and elected to field
Saudi Arabia: 205 for 7 off 47 overs (A.Saleem 59, M.Abdullah 31, M.Nadeem 56*; S.Khalid 3-50)
Kuwait: 206 for 5 off 24.4 overs (M.Irfan 129*)
Man of the Match: Mohammed Irfan (Kuwait)

Singapore v Maldives at SCC
Singapore won the toss and elected to field
Maldives: 73 all out off 27 overs (D.Mulewa 3-3, A.Singh 3-21)
Singapore: 76 for 2 off 6.3 overs (A.Mutreja 30)
Man of the Match: Abhiraj Singh (Singapore)

Tournament Page

Filed June 13th, 2014