Maldives came through what at one stage looked like being a close contest in beating China by 57 runs at Gymkhana. With this result, Maldives have booked their place in the sem-finals of the ACC Trophy Challenge. They bowled well, but will have to bat better if they are going to go all the way.

The first over set the tone for the Maldives innings, Abdulla Shahid hit the first ball for 6, was dropped next ball and then holed out two balls later. China were up for the contest today, and their bowlers made life difficult for the Maldivian batsmen throughout.

Plenty of effort from the Chinese fielders today

Captain Wang Lei made the initial breakthroughs and at the other end Zhang Yufei kept things very tight. Yesterday against Saudi Arabia he bowled too wide and too short or too straight and too full. Today, against Maldives’s captain Moosa Kaleem he bowled particularly well, beating the veteran repeatedly outside off. It was a good battle. Moosa survived it though and against the less pacey bowlers found close to his full range of strokes.

Moosa Kaleem hits out

Maldives from being 38-2 after 10 overs, were 84-6 after 20 (Moosa Kaleem out for 40 off 49) and China sensing that they could knock them out for less than 100. Sun Dou was bowling his leg-breaks beautifully from the Clubhouse End, three maidens in his eight overs and was backed up well by his fielders. Maldives all out for 112 well inside the 50 over-mark and China sensing the possibility of their biggest scalp yet.

It was not to be, even a re-jigged batting order couldn’t cope with the swing and spin of the Maldives bowlers. China had bowled best of all, putting the ball on the spot and getting movement in the air and off the pitch, but their batsmen were hapless against the canniness of Ismail Nihad and the slyness of slow left-armer Mahafooz. They were all out for 55, giving catching practice.

"We underperformed with the bat and will have to improve in the games ahead," said Man of the Match Mohamed Mahfooz afterwards, who missed out on the Asian Games because of work commitments, "but our bowling is strong and we are doing well in these conditions." Maldives's match against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday will determine who finishes top of the Group. Not that any semi-final will be easy in respect of whoever both teams will meet in Bangkok.

Video: Mahafooz and Ismail Nihad on dreams coming true

ACC Trophy Challenge 2010

Group B: China v Maldives at Chiang Mai Gymkhana
Maldives won the toss and chose to bat
Maldives 112 off 33.2 overs (M.Kaleem 40; Z.Peng 3-32)
China: 55 of 21.5 overs (I.Nihad 3-14,M.Mahafooz 4-8)
Man of the Match: Mohamed Mahafooz (Maldives)

Tournament Page

Pictures by Eric Little

Filed December 5th, 2010