Singapore's Kshitij Shinde on his way to a valuable 17-ball 33* as Oman's captain Sultan Ahmed watches on

Singapore kept alive their hopes of winning the ACC Twenty20 with a 23-run win over Oman's big hitters at Al Dhaid Cricket Village in the UAE. Singapore were run close at times, but thanks to a blistering start and a momentum-shifting 22-run 20th over, they always had just enough in the bank to overcome Oman's advances. In the day's other matches at Sharjah Stadium, Kuwait hammered 143 in just 53 balls to beat Maldives by nine wickets and Saudi Arabia beat Malaysia by 43 runs.

Singapore took full advantage of a rock hard playing surface at Al Dhaid to post the tournament's highest score, 33 runs came off the first two overs, and they were 61 for 1 after five. Arjun Mutreja swept regularly and ran hard in making a spritely 79 off 45 deliveries, but once the fielders were spread and Oman's bowling became less erratic, Singapore were unable to sustain the initial run-rate. What initially looked like being a 200-plus score for Singapore was in danger of being around 160 until a burst of clean-hitting by Kshitij Shinde in the last over took them to 198.

Which was a winning score in spite of the excellence of Jatinder Singh (70 off 37), whose strokes of clinical timing and placement kept Oman well in the hunt. His departure to a catch in the deep at the start of the 15th over with 63 still needed all but guaranteed Singapore's victory though a flurry of runs by Sultan Ahmed and Rajesh Ranpura (28 off 13) offered hope to the Omanis.

Kuwait's Sibtain Raza strikes

In the morning match at Sharjah Stadium, Maldives made a creditable 138 against Kuwait, captain Afzal Faiz top-scoring with 34 off 35 deliveries. Kuwait were indebted to off-spinner Sibtain Raza's excellent return-catch to dismiss Afzal to hamper Maldives' progress and Sibtain went on take a further four wickets. In the quest to not just win but also boost their run-rate, Kuwait went Formula 1 and simply raced to victory with 114 runs in boundaries, captain Aamir Javed with an AB de Villiers-type strike rate of 305.55 for his 55 runs. He ended the match with his sixth 6.

Saudi Arabia notched their first victory with a comfortable cruise in the late afternoon light at Sharjah. The Gulf nation's top order all made significant contributions, opener Nasir Abbasi making 65 off 34 deliveries. After Malaysia had pegged the scoring with wickets, a late burst by all-rounder Ibrarul Huq 30* off 15 took them to 176. Malaysia started well but the big guns at the top all perished in trying to keep up with the required run-rate. Once Saudi Arabia's captain off-spinner Shoaib Ali claimed the third of his five victims, Hammadullah Khan with the score on 99 in the 16th over, Malaysia were not going to be able to mount a charge.

Going into the rest day on Wednesday with two matches per side left to play, Kuwait remain unbeaten but four other teams are still in the race to overhaul.

Tue, Jan 27th, 2015

Kuwait v Maldives at Sharjah
Maldives won the toss and chose to bat
Maldives: 138 for 9 off 20 overs (M.Rishwan 31, A.Faiz 34; S.Raza 5-27)
Kuwait: 143 for 1 off 8.5 overs (M.Irfan 63*, A.Javed 55*)
Man of the Match: Sibtain Raza (Kuwait)

Oman v Singapore at Al Dhaid
Singapore won the toss and chose to bat
Singapore: 198 for 9 off 20 overs (A.Mutreja 79, K.Shinde 33*; A.Lalcheta 3-30, R.Ranpura 3-38))
Oman: 175 for 9 off 20 overs (J.Singh 70, S.Ahmed 32; S.Vijayakumar 4-20)
Man of the Match: Arjun Mutreja (Singapore)

Malaysia v Saudi Arabia at Sharjah
Saudi Arabia won the toss and chose to bat
Saudi Arabia: 176 for 6 off 20 overs (N.Abbasi 65, M.Afzal 34, I.Haq 30*; H.Ghulam 3-22)
Malaysia: 133 for 9 off 20 overs (S.Kumar 33; S.Ali 5-19)
Man of the Match: Shoaib Ali (Saudi Arabia)

ACC Twenty20 Tournament Page

Filed January 28th, 2015