|Malaysia's captain Ahmed Faiz smites another one|
With just one place available in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier and only five matches to play, each game assumes huge significance at the ACC Twenty20 in Sharjah. On the first day Oman, Malaysia and Kuwait got themselves in the top half of the table, Oman and Malaysia with thumping wins, Kuwait after a competitive tussle with Singapore.
Put into bat on a bright UAE morning (after one minutes' silence was observed across the stadium for the recently deceased King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia) Oman were never in trouble, their top order one after the other building momentum peaking with a 67-run partnership for the third wicket between Jatinder Singh and Vibhav Wategaonkar off 41 deliveries. Oman's 167 was always going to ask a great deal of the Saudi batsmen whose top three fell quickly and though the middle-order rallied somewhat, it was never enough against some steady Oman bowling.
Amid the water-starved palm trees of Al Dhaid Cricket Village, Malaysia's captain Ahmed Faiz took the game away from Maldives. From 54 for 3 after 10 overs, Faiz on 16 from 21 balls, Malaysia put on another 102 runs with Faiz peppering the leg-side boundary with some powerful strokes. He fell to the last ball of the innings after making 80 off 54 with three 4s and five 6s. He was quick between the wickets too, as the rest of his team-mates' runs were augmented by only four boundaries. Maldives' openers promised much after a rapid start that had them up with the required run-rate but once Abdullah Shahid was caught at long-on, the innings fell away, with the dismissal of Rishwan (36 off 29), to the last ball of the tenth over leaving Maldives at 61 for 5 and too much to do.
Kuwait and Singapore enjoyed a ding-dong battle in the afternoon light at Sharjah Stadium, the game swinging first one way then another. Kuwait lost two quick wickets, recovered through captain Aamir Javed's 45 off 13 deliveries (four 4s, four 6s) and then with wickets falling regularly, finishing with a flourishing thanks to left-handed wicket-keeper Usman Waheed's unbeaten 54 off 34 deliveries (one 4, four 6s). Singapore weren't too troubled by having to go at 8 an over, and were in touch with the asking rate for much of their innings until the last few overs when they couldn't find the boundaries thanks to some good death bowling by the Kuwaitis. Ten runs short, after losing four wickets off the last eight deliveries.
Day 1: January 25, 2015
Oman v Saudi Arabia at Sharjah Stadium
OMAN WON BY 51 RUNS
Saudi Arabia won the toss and elected to field
Oman: 167 for 5 off 20 overs (R.Ranpura 36, J.Singh 45, V.Wategaonkar 34)
Saudi Arabia: 116 all out off 19.1 overs (R.Ranpura 2-16, A.Lalcheta 3-22, Z.Maqsood 2-30, A.Kaleem 2-21)
Man of the Match: Ajay Lalcheta (Oman)
Malaysia v Maldives at Al Dhaid
MALAYSIA WON BY 56 RUNS
Malaysia won the toss and chose to bat
Malaysia: 156 for 6 off 20 overs (A.Faiz 80; H.Ibrahim 3-22)
Maldives: 100 all out off 19.5 overs (M.Rishwan 36; V.Singh 3-17, D,Duraisingam 3-11)
Man of the Match: Ahmed Faiz (Malaysia)
Kuwait v Singapore at Sharjah Stadium
KUWAIT WON BY 10 RUNS
Kuwait won the toss and chose to bat
Kuwait: 160 for 8 off 20 overs (A.Javed 45, U.Waheed 54*)
Singapore: 150 for 9 off 20 overs (C.Ruwan 31, A.Paraam 31, K.Shinde 43*; K.Butt 4-26, K.Sharif 2-20)
Man of the Match: Khalid Butt (Kuwait)
ACC Twenty20 Tournament Page
Filed January 25th, 2015