MALDIVES MAKE IT MATTER

Report by Richard Lockwood, Cricket Association of Thailand

Thailand's participation in the ACC Trophy Challenge that had started with an outstanding victory over Maldives ended in disappointment when they lost the Third and Fourth place play-off against the same opponents at Gymkhana Club. Thailand collapsed to 60 all out and lost by eight wickets as Maldives reached their target in just 15 overs.

Thailand won the toss and batted first, looking to put the poor batting effort against Bhutan in the semi-final behind them. Instead they carried on where they left off two days earlier against Bhutan in the semi-final as wickets fell on a regular basis.

Akshay Desai was promoted to open but was run out by a brilliant piece of fielding from Abdulla Shahid at square leg. Maldives opening bowlers kept to a tidy line and length, but Shyam Sideek had hit two impressive off-side boundaries to take the score to 22 for one after 10 overs.

Sideek tried another ambitious drive against Abdulla Shahid and managed to give Hassan Ibrahim catching practice at mid-off, while Anil Tanwani had his stumps shattered by Husham Ibrahim as two wickets fell with the score on 25.

Batting then began to look extremely difficult as the two medium pacers bowled seven consecutive maidens between them. John Hottinger, dropping down the order to number four, did not enjoy a change of luck, taking 21 balls to score his first run and then receiving an unplayable ball from Abdulla Shahid which he could only fend to the wicket-keeper.

Nisadh Rego made an equally painstaking seven from 39 balls and the first time he tried to hit out he was caught at mid-on by Ahmed Hassan to give Abdullah Shahid his third wicket. Zeeshan Khan seemed to relieve the pressure with two pulls for four but he could then only edge to first slip as Abdulla Shahid finished with the impressive figures of 10-4, 13-4.

He had ripped the heart out of the Thailand batting, finishing his quota leaving the home side on 54 for six. The two Maldives spinners came on and took a wicket apiece and there were two more appalling run outs as the last four wickets fell for only six more runs.

Thailand's last two batting efforts in the competition had brought scores of 72 and 60, totals more expected from teams like Myanmar or China, and their bowlers had little chance to impress with Maldives needing only 61 to win.

Ashish Dey took a wicket in the first over, but Ahmed Hussain and Ahmed Hassan added 44 for the second wicket with no real alarms. Spinners Shyam Sideek and Nishadh Rego, so impressive against Bhutan, had early chances and Nishadh Rego claimed the wicket of Ahmed Hussain for 13, but Ahmed Hassan scored an unbeaten 26 with three fours to see his side home to victory by eight wickets.

Maldives claimed third place in the ACC Trophy Challenge 2009, gaining revenge on Thailand for their earlier defeat in emphatic fashion, but there was only disappointment for the Thai side as Zeeshan Khan's great hopes to see his team progress on to the world stage via promotion from ACC Challenge to ACC Elite came to nothing.

ACC Trophy Challenge

3rd and 4th Playoff
Thailand v Maldives at Chiang Mai Gymkhana
MALDIVES WON BY EIGHT OVERS
Thailand won the toss and chose to bat
Thailand 60 (33.3 overs) (Abdulla Shahid 4-13)
Maldives 62-2 (15 overs) (Ahmed Hassan 26*)
Man of the Match: Abdulla Shahid (Maldives)

Scorecard

ACC Trophy Challenge 2009

Filed January 21, 2009