Report by Richard Lockwood, Cricket Association of Thailand

Thailand played Qatar today at AIT in the play-off for third and fourth places in the ACC Trophy Challenge. Both sides were looking for improved performances after losing in the semi-finals and it was the visitors Qatar who proved to be by far the better team as they won by 116 runs.

Qatar won the toss and chose to bat even though it had been their bowling attack that had proved their strength when the teams met at TCG earlier in the tournament.

It wasn’t the best of starts to the day for Thailand who have only won one match on the field in this competition as Robert Raina was replaced by Imran Gilani. Mahsid Faheem’s first ball was a full toss hit through the covers for four and he conceded 10 from the first over, but at least 17-year-old Daniel Leach was given another chance with the new ball.

Qatar's batting had looked vulnerable in their previous matches but their openers were building a steady start as they reached 20 from the first five overs

Thailand's opening bowlers began to exploit the extra bounce often found in the AIT pitch and Daniel Leach claimed the first wicket, as Habib Zada was caught at mid on by Vichanath Singh for 6 to leave Qatar 20 for 1.

Qatar are enjoying their best start with the bat in the tournament as they reached 48 for one in 10 overs. Thailand made a double bowling change with the introduction of Imran Gilani and Ziaul Hoque but Tamoor Sajjad gave Mohammad Rizlan good support and they had just posted the fifty partnership for the second wicket when Rizlan on 32 edged Zia to gully where Saurabh Dhanuka took the catch.

With captain Umar Taj coming to the crease, Qatar were intent on building a big score, so Ziaul Hoque claimed an important wicket when he bowled Tamoor Sajjad for 38 to leave the score on 91 for 3 in the 20th over but Thailand were still in the game if their spinners could cast a spell on Qatar’s batsmen with their flight and guile

Qatar brought up their 100 in the 24th over, Umar Taj using his feet well to straight drive two boundaries. After 25 overs Qatar's score stood on 109 for three with the groundstaff getting the covers ready as the clouds built up overhead.

Faisal Noor hit the first six of the match from the bowling of Zia and Thailand missed the chance to run out Qatar’s captain as he backed up too far. 11 runs came from a Zia over but Vichanath Singh struck as Faisal Noor edged to slip. Qatar were 120 for 4.

Umar Taj showed his class by playing the slow left arm of Vichanath as late as possible, cutting two more boundaries, but Ryan Raina was troubling left-handed Abbas Khan with his off spin. Qatar were well placed on 140 for four after 30 overs.

Opening bowler Mahsid Faheem was taken from the ground in an ambulance after suffering a back injury as Thailand were left with only 11 men at the ground in humid conditions. Noppon Semamontree was introduced with immediate effect as Abbas Khan fell lbw to leave Qatar on 142 for 5.

The dangerous Rusharat Ali joined his captain but he didn’t last long as Senamontree maintained his reputation as a wicket-taker by having him caught at slip as Qatar lost their sixth wicket on 146.

Umar Taj reached his 50 out of a total of 159 for six as Thailand received another lesson in how to make runs by keeping the ball on the ground and running well between the wickets.

Finally the Qatar captain made his first mistake as he was lured down the pitch by the inviting spin of Senamontree to be stumped by Witsanukorn Thapthimthai for 52 to leave his side on 163 for 7.

Qatar are in danger of being bowled out inside their 50 overs as Omran Hussain was caught and bowled by Ryan Raina for nought to leave the total 167 for 8 in the 38th over.

Senamontree was still causing problems as wicket-keeper Raheel Sheikh edged to slip but the bad news for Thailand was that a simple catch was dropped by Ziaul Hoque. Qatar were 178 for 8 after 40 overs

Qatar raised their 200 with eight wickets down in the 45th over as Thailand once again could not finish off their opponents after bowling well for long periods of an innings

Qatar lost their ninth wicket on 202 in the 46th over when Ali Ishtiaq was caught by Ziaul Hoque for 19.

Thailand's performances are following a similar pattern as another simple catch was missed and too many bad balls were served up at the end of the innings. Qatar were finally dismissed for 223, and Thailand would have to chase exactly the same total they had attempted in the semi-final against Saudi Arabia.

Thailand's batsmen had one last chance to redeem themselves

The pressure was on Thailand from the start of their innings as left-arm seamer Abbas Khan began with a maiden. Mohammad Rizlan made the first breakthrough as Shyam Sideek was caught at slip for nought to leave Thailand on five for one.

Worse was to follow for Thailand as Saurabh Dhanuka edged through to keeper Raheel Sheikh from the bowling of Abbas Khan to leave Thailand on 10 for 2.

Zeeshan Khan's poor run of scores in this tournament was completed when he was caught in the gully from the bowling of Mohammad Rizlan to leave Thailand in trouble at 21 for 3 after 6 overs.

Mohammad Rizlan then took his third wicket when Witsanukorn Thapthimthai was caught at short cover by Umar Taj for 4 to make the score 25 for 4.

Ryan Raina who came in at number three is batting sensibly but can anyone stay with him? Ziaul Hoque was the next man to go as he was caught behind for four to give Mohammad Rizlan his fourth wicket as Thailand's score stood in ruins on 31 for 5.

Daniel Leach joined Raina and he will again look to occupy the crease as he had done successfully in the last two matches while Raina will try to find the boundary. The combination made a good start as Thailand’s fifty came up in the 14th over.

At last Thailand have found a partnership of two players prepared to build an innings. Progress is steady as Raina and Leach took the score to 66 for 5 after 20 overs.

But the partnership came to a premature end when Leach edged Rusharat Ali to be caught at slip by Abbas Khan as Thailand lost their sixth wicket on 78.

Imran Gilani came to the crease for his first innings of the tournament and celebrated by on-driving for four, then Ryan Raina became the first Thailand batsman to reach fifty in the competition as the score reached 96 for six after 27 overs.

Gilani reverted to the more Thai normal approach by holing out to long on from the bowling of Ali Ishtiaq to leave Thailand on 101 for 7 in the 29th over.

The end came quickly as Vichanath Singh was stumped by Raheel Sheikh off Tamoor Sajjad for 2 to make the score 107 for 8 and two balls later Noppon Senamontree was bowled by Sajjad for nought to end the innings as Mahsid Faheem back at the ground was deemed not fit to bat.

Thailand were dismissed for 107 in only 32 overs as Qatar were victorious by 116 runs. A convincing margin of victory as they finished in third place in the ACC Trophy Challenge. For Thailand, the main positive today was Ryan Raina showing the virtue of playing sensibly and keeping the ball on the ground. He finished on 59 not out but it was too little too late for Thailand.

ACC Trophy Challenge 2010

3rd/4th Playoff: Qatar v Thailand at AIT
Qatar won the toss and chose to bat
Qatar: 223 off 48.4 overs (M.Rizlan 32, T.Sajjad 38, U.Taj 52; N.Senamontree 3-17)
Thailand: 107 off 32 overs (Ryan Raina 59*; M.Rizlan 4-25)
Man of the Match: Muhammad Rizlan (Qatar)

Tournament page

Filed December 11th, 2010