By Richard Lockwood

The opening day of the ACC Eastern Division T20 being played at TCG in Bangkok was full of action as Singapore beat Thailand by 43 runs in the morning match although there were plenty of promising signs for the home side, and the afternoon match between Malaysia and Nepal was a classic encounter as Malaysia defeated the much-fancied Nepal by 22 runs.

Sidhanth Singh was man of the match for Singapore as he played the anchor role of 59 from 50 balls to make sure his side posted a respectable total of 139 for 7 in their 20 overs. Thailand’s spinners bowled extremely tidily but it was Mahsid Faheem’s two wickets in an over that may well have restricted Singapore to a lower total before Janak Pralash hit the last ball of the innings out of the ground as he made 20 not out of just 11 balls.

Thailand’s plan was for the top six batsmen to bat for the majority of the 20 overs and their strategy was on course for most of the innings. Daniel Jacobs led the way with 29 and after two quick wickets Henno Jordaan supported him well as Thailand passed fifty with eight wickets still in hand.

Even at 61 for 4 Thailand were still in the contest with the experienced Ziaul Hoque and Bobby Raina at the crease and they were beginning to build a partnership together as the match moved into the final six overs. It wasn’t to be as Singapore have a good, balanced attack and Thailand’s last six wickets fell for 14 runs as they were dismissed for 96 as Singapore began their campaign with victory by 43 runs.

The afternoon match quickly followed with Malaysia batting first and right from the start Malaysia batted with great confidence as they were looking to play their shots following a five-nil clean sweep in their series against Hong Kong.

Sandeep Lamichhane was quickly introduced to weave his magic but his first ball was drilled back into his shin. He was down but not out as he claimed wickets with his next two balls as he had two men caught at mid on by Pawan Sarraf. It looked like Malaysia’s positive intent may be counterproductive as Sandeep’s first over was a double-wicket maiden.

Anwar Arudin and captain Ahmed Faiz held firm and also began to play big shots as both reached thirty before Sandeep came back to take his third wicket. Malaysia looked to be sliding into trouble as they were five wickets down before they had reached the hundred mark, but Syed Aziz made an unbeaten 51 from 35 balls and shared a fine partnership for the sixth wicket with Aminuddin Ramly who scored 29 from 18 balls.

Thanks to their long batting line-up and their hard-hitting approach Malaysia reached an impressive 154 for 6 in their 20 overs so Nepal would have to bat well to chase their target. Tall left-arm spinner Pavandeep Singh claimed bowled an impressive opening spell but Gayendra Malla and Divendra Airee looked in control as they built a partnership for the third wicket, seemingly able to find the gaps in the field at will.

But their approach was more measured than their Malaysian counterparts and Malla was dismissed for 39 from 34 balls and Airee for 37 from 39 balls. Nepal had been unable to score at a rate of more than six runs an over but Pawan Sarraf who had earlier claimed four catches in the field suddenly looked like the danger man.

He raced to 19 from 14 balls with a four and a six before falling lbw to Khizar Hayat and he was the last batsman to reach double figures as the wickets kept falling. Nepal could not match Malaysia’s boundary count and it always looked like they would fall short of their target when 23 were needed from the last over.

Nobody expected the dramatic end to the match that we had and it was left to Shervin Muniandy to show the world just how a bowler should close out a T20 match. He had bowled accurately and already taken an important wicket but he changed his approach in his last over and three slower balls brought him three wickets in four balls as the tail tried to hit boundaries and the last wicket came thanks to a brilliant caught and bowled as he ran backwards towards mid-off. He was named man of the match for figures of 4 for 13 and Malaysia had triumphed by 22 runs.

The second day’s matches see Hong Kong take on Nepal and Thailand face Malaysia and all the signs are that we see a lot more exciting cricket from some well-matched teams.

Sat 29-Feb

Thailand v Singapore at TCG
Thailand won the toss and elected to field
Singapore: 139 for 7 off 20 overs (Siddhant 59)
Thailand: 96 all out off 19 overs (K.Subramaniam 3-27)
Man of the Match: Siddhant (Singapore)

Nepal v Malaysia at TCG
Malaysia won the toss and chose to bat
Malaysia: 154 for 6 off 20 overs (A.Arudin 31, F.Noor 30, S.Mubarak 51*; S.Lamichhane 3-22)
Nepal: 132 all out off 19.4 overs (G.Malla 38, D.Airee 38; S.Muniandy 4-13)
Man of the Match: Sharvin Muniandy (Malaysia)

Photos by Peter Lim


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Filed February 29th, 2020