Host country Thailand have reached the final of the ACC Men’s T20 Eastern Region 2018 by following their comprehensive victory over Myanmar with a hard fought win over Bhutan as they defended a total of 108 to win by 44 runs. Thailand are the only team to have won both their matches and because Myanmar had earlier beaten China by four wickets, they are now certain of a place in Sunday’s final. Thailand will meet the winner of Saturday’s match between Bhutan in the final regardless of the result of their contest against China.

Play got underway on the second day of the ACC Men's T20 Eastern Region 2018 competition with China facing Myanmar at Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok. Both teams lost their opening matches so they were looking to bounce back with a victory as Myanmar won the toss and asked China to bat first.

China's opening batsman Lu Cangcang carried his bat against Bhutan yesterday but he was almost out without scoring in the first over as he skied a drive to long-off but the catch was dropped and the batsman survived. His partner Tian Suqing wasn't so lucky as he tried to play a sweep shot but was caught by Thu Ya Aung running back from slip off the bowling of Min Wai for nought as China were only 7 for 1 after the first six overs..

China lost their second wicket when Lu Cangcang was run out after his partner Zhang Yufei played a rare attacking shot and set off for an unlikely run. Nine runs came from Min Wai's fourth over as China at last showed some intent but he finished with figures of 1 for 15. Myanmar took their third wicket with the score on 18 as Zhang was lbw to Paing Danu. Yan Naing Kyaw struggled with his line to concede a number of wides as China reached 31 for 1 after 10 overs.

Li Jian at least tried to go for his shots but was caught at long-on for 12 off the bowling of diminutive Ye Ko Ko Aung and the off-spinner claimed his second wicket when Zhang Yong prodded a return catch back to the bowler. China were 42 for 5 after 13 overs and it got worse for their young captain in the next over as Wang Zihao was bowled by his first ball. Aung Ko Ko found himself on a hat-trick as he took a wicket with the first ball of the 15th over and China have limped to 49 for 7 with five overs left.

Song Yulin came in at nine and played an eventful innings as he saved the hat-trick and hit a pair of boundaries, celebrating with his hands raised on each occasion but he became Aung Ko Ko's fourth wicket when he was lbw for 11. The Myanmar spinner returned the impressive figures of 4 for 17 and it was just a question of whether China could survive the 20 overs. Left-hander Feng Yu was ninth out when he was bowled by Paing Danu who finished with 2 for 4 in his four overs. China were able to bat out their overs as they reached 79 for nine and at least they had the runs on the board. Myanmar needed to score 80 to win at a rate of four an over.

China did their best to make the match an interesting one as they have a pair of tall fast bowlers charging in trying to take early wickets. Wang Zihao, such a star of the ACC U16 Eastern Region competition held in Thailand a few months ago, took a wicket with his second ball as Aung Ko Ko was bowled without scoring. Myanmar then fought fire with fire as their batsmen went for their shots and the ball was flying to the boundary in typical T20 style. The introduction of spin brought a second wicket for China but Myanmar are 41 for 2 after the powerplay, far ahead of China's 7 for 1.

China did their best to turn the tables on Myanmar as their two spinners Chen Zuyoue and Han Junjui each took a wicket and there was also a run out. Myanmar were still on course for victory as six singles come in an over and they were 59 for 4 after 10 overs with only 21 more runs required for victory.

Myanmar lost their fifth wicket as Wei Min was bowled by Han Jinjui but a succession of wides and a boundary quickly brought Myanmar closer to victory. Captain Htet Lin Aung was batting sensibly, knowing the runs would come if he stayed at the crease but suddenly he tried to hit a boundary and was caught at cover. A bye, two singles and a wide brought scores level and a leg bye was enough to bring Myanmar victory by four wickets with 5.2 overs to spare.

Man of the Match: Myanmar's Aung Ko Ko

Thailand faced Bhutan in the afternoon and were looking to build on the impressive win against Myanmar on the first day. Bhutan easily beat China so we were probably watching the best two teams in the competition. Bhutan won the toss and sent Thailand into bat.

Thailand's innings started in brilliant fashion as Daniel Jacobs hit the first ball of the match straight for four, but Thinley Jamtsho, who took 3 wickets the previous day, soon had Payuputh Sungnard caught behind for just one. This only brought in Chanchai Pengkumta who hit 34 from 22 balls against Myanmar and had a chance to play a long innings. He was looking composed and hit a pair of boundaries but was bowled by Tenzin Wangchuk for 11. Thailand were 39 for 2 after 6 overs.

Daniel Jacobs had been riding his luck with a couple of chances put down in the field, so he would have been confident that a blow that sailed towards the deep mid-wicket boundary would be safe, but it went straight to Rekash Pradhan and he clung onto the catch just inside the boundary. The captain fell for 23 from 22 balls as Thailand lost their third wicket on 48. Kiatiwut Suttisan was next out and the home side were now in trouble after Jigme Singye bowled Robert Raina behind his legs to leave the score on a precarious 49 for 5 in the 10th over.

Tenzin Wangchuk finished with 2 for 17 and Tandin Wangchuk took 1 for 22 but Jigme Singye who went to school in Chiang Mai could now be the key man now as Bhutan were taking control against the home side. Even under pressure, Thailand were still going for their shots and Sittipong Hongsi in at number seven hit two sixes early in his innings but he was lbw to Suprit Pradhan for a highly useful contribution of 27.

Thailand were now in real trouble as they have slipped to 84 for 7 after 15 overs as Sarbjot Singh was bowled by Suprit Pradhan first ball to leave the off-spinner on a hat-trick at the end of his over. Ryan Raina and Mahsid Faheem are at the crease but Thailand were struggling to reach three figures with three overs left.

Thailand failed to bat out their 20 overs against Bhutan as Tobden Singye took the last three wickets with his medium pace, and although Ryan Raina and Mahsid Faheem made useful contributions at the end the home side will be disappointed with their batting effort in reaching a total of 108 in 19.5 overs.

Thailand may not have been satisfied with their bating but they could still put matters right with some early wickets. Chanchai Pengkumta had captain Jigme Singye caught at extra-cover by Kiatiwut Suttisan and when slow left-arm maestro Vichanath Singh was given the ball to bowl the second over he did even better as Tandin Wangchuk was only able to hit his first ball up into the air to give Daniel Jacobs a simple catch. Two wickets down in the first two overs.

Thailand kept the pressure on Bhutan with spin at one end through Vichanath Singh and Nopphon Senamontree, and pace at the other through Chanchai Pengkumta and Mahsid Faheem. Bhutan were restricted to 14 for 2 in the powerplay but Suprit Pradhan was beginning to look comfortable, hitting a pair of short balls away for twos, and Thinley Jamtsho was another experienced player from the years when Bhutan were in the higher levels of ACC cricket.

Bhutan lost their third wicket with the score on 21 when Thinley hit Nopphon Senamontree straight into cover's hands. Suprit Pradhan hit the first boundary in the tenth over and Noppon's third over cost 12 to take Bhutan to 34 for 3 at the halfway stage. 75 more were needed from 10 overs.

With five overs left Thailand were now firmly in control of the match as Ryan and Robert Raina have combined nicely with two wickets to Ryan and two catches to Robert. Bhutan were 46 for 7 with 63 needed from 30 balls and Vichanath Singh returned to mop up the tail and immediately claimed two more wickets as he had one man bowled and the other caught at short cover.

Thailand have won their second match in the ACC Men's T20 Eastern Region 2018 as they beat Bhutan by 44 runs after bowling them out for 64 in 18.5 overs. Vichanath Singh finished things off expertly with the three final wickets to claim 4 for 7 but it was Ryan Raina who was named man of the match for his all-round performance. He made some valuable runs when Thailand were in trouble and then took crucial wickets as he returned figures of 3 for 9. The final round of league matches is played on Saturday with the finals held on Sunday. Thailand have already secured their place in the final but they were given a stiff test today by Bhutan.

Man of the Match: Thailand's Ryan Raina

Thu 22 Feb: Day 2

China v Myanmar at TCG
Myanmar won the toss and elected to field
China: 79 for 9 off 20 overs (KK.Aung 4-17)
Myanmar: 80 for 6 off 13.4 overs
Man of the Match: Aung Ko Ko (Myanmar)

Thailand v Bhutan At TCG
Bhutan won the toss and elected to field
Thailand: 108 all out off 19.5 overs (T.Singye 3-7)
Bhutan: 64 all out off 18.5 overs (RR.Raina 3-9, V.Singh 4-7)
Man of the Match: Ryan Raina (Thailand)

Written by Richard Lockwood

Tournament page

Filed February 22nd, 2018