Saudi Arabia's Shafiq Ahmed on the way to 39 off 50 balls (six 4s)

Saudi Arabia dominated this match from start to finish, right from winning the toss and taking first use of a fresh Gymkhana wicket that had evidently more pace and bounce in it than in previous years. The hard-wicket players of Saudi Arabia relished the conditions and started hitting from the outset.

Having impressed during the Asian Games just last week China’s bowlers weren’t up to it today and bowled either too full or too short and all Saudi Arabia’s batsmen had to do was hit through the line. They hit the ball in the air all day long, expecting to get away with it, and they did all but a few times.

Shafiq Ahmed and Hammad Saeed got the Saudi innings off to a flyer and after 15 overs the green-shirted men were on 86 for 1. Hammad made 45 off 40 and the innings lost some momentum after the Chinese spinners Wang Jing and Sun Duo came on, but not much. Rather than going at close to 6 an over, Saudi Arabia went at close to 5. And China were looking a decent side.

Coming in at number 6 Amir Sajjad took a while to get going but announced himself with a huge straight six off Zhang Yufei. China were bowling too short throughout, and when they were full they were too full. The fielding wilted under the pressure too. Sajjad was missed at mid-off when on 35, and made China pay. The 33-year old eventually making 81 off 74 balls with 12 boundaries, and his partnership of 89 off 77 balls with Samar Hussain for the seventh wicket demolished any chances China would have had of keeping the Saudis to a manageable score as they finished on 283 for 9.

Amir Sajjad, almost caught before he went on to do some real damage to China

Saudi Arabia opened with spin from the Clubhouse End, having destroyed China with turn in Chiang Mai in 2008 and Afzal Muhammad confirmed the Chinese batsmen’s vulnerabilities to flight and turn with two wickets. Three of his colleagues also took the same number and China, with two run-outs, were bundled out 49 in 18 overs, a shadow of their best selves and nowhere close to the team that played in the Asian Games, even though they had the same personnel.

“A good win for us, we find it hard to play on turf but we think we can win this tournament, God willing,” said Shoaib Ali Saudi Arabia’s captain.

ACC Trophy Challenge 2010

Group B
China v Saudi Arabia at Chiang Mai Gymkhana
Saudi Arabia won the toss and chose to bat
Saudi Arabia: 283 for 9 off 50 overs (S.Ahmed 39, H.Saeed 45, A.Sajjad 81; Z.Yufei 3-65)
China: 49 off 18 overs
Man of the Match: Amir Sajjad (Saudi Arabia)

Tournament page

Saudi Arabia's Shoaib Ali and Hammad Saeed on turf, tournaments and trophy challenges

Pictures by Eric Little

Filed December 4th, 2010