2006 ACC U-15 Cup (Elite Division) - AFGHANISTAN v BAHRAIN

Match report by Richard Mathias, Bahrain Manager

Day One Afghanistan v Bahrain

It was a very crucial match for Bahrain. Bahrain had to do well at this match and take the first innings lead in order to progress to the Semi Finals. The Afghan boys were very well built. Their bowling and fielding was reputed to be exceptional and it proved right. However our bowlers were accurate today and the day ended with Bahrain securing a very hard fought first innings lead against the Afghans. Coach Kumarasiri said he had seen many innings of David but this 49 not out would rank above all the other 17 centuries that he has scored to date.

Bahrain won the toss and took a brave decision and put Afghanistan into bat. Anant opened the bowling and in the very first over had opener Hejratullah Hejrat bowled for a duck with no runs on the board. Anant finished the over as a wicket maiden. In the third over Anant had Ziaul Haq Ahmadzai LBW for 1. The score read three overs 4 runs 2 wickets and Bahrain were on a roll. Next batsman captain Zard Ali Ali played some aggressive shots and took the score to 24 when David Mathias had opener Ehsanullah Khatabi caught by Divesh Nambiar for 6 runs. The very next ball David had A. Rahman Sedigi LBW for a Duck. Afghanistan were now reduced to 24 for 4.

Afghanistan’s players kept up their aggressive approach and dangerous batsman Zard Ali Ali was stumped by wicket keeper Sankarsh Suresh off Rahul Ramchandran’s teasing leg break. He had scored 34 runs off 41 balls. The Afghans kept their aggressive batting going and Cyrus D’Souza had the next two batsman, Habibullah Ahmadzai bowled for 21 and Ahmadzai Daoud LBW for 2. The score was now 75 for 7.

The hard-hitting pair of Jawad Rahmani who scored 26 off 26 balls was bowled by David Mathias and the next batsman Naeid Nawaid was caught by Sameer Zulfikar off David.

Afghanistan ended their innings with 132 runs on the board and had consumed only 33 of their allotted 60 overs. Pick of the bowlers was David Mathias were 13 overs 3 maidens, 4 wickets for 34 runs, Anant 5 overs, 1 maiden, 2 wickets for 14 runs and Cyrus D’Souza 5 overs 2 wickets for 29 runs.

The target of 132 might seem small but on turf where average second innings scores have been less than 110 it was a difficult task for 15 year olds to have the pressure of chasing. Samuel Viegas and Divyesh Nambiar opened the innings for Bahrain. The pair put on 23 runs before Samuel Viegas was bowled by H.Ahmadzai while try to lift a straight ball playing across the line. He had made 14 runs in 25 balls. Next batsman Sameer Zulfiqar went out in similar fashion trying to lift a straight ball from H. Ahmadzai he had made 1 run from 11 balls. Next batsman Karan Singh played a more mature innings and the pair put on a partnership of 37 runs. Karan who had hit a 6 in the previous over again tried to lift the ball and was caught by A Khatabi off E. Khatabi. He had scored 19 from 50 balls. Next batsman David Mathias joined Divyesh at the crease and the scoreboard read 78 when Divyesh was bowled by E. Khatabi he had made a patient 24 off 81 balls, showing maturity. Next batsman Rahul played a loose shot and was caught by Zard Ali off E. Khatabi. He had scored 4 off 6 balls. Next batsman Anant Bahl was caught behind off H. Ahmadzai for 4 and Cyrus D’Souza hero of the last match was bowled for 1 going on the back foot. Much was expected of the middle order to play the 60 overs and Bahrain would have secured the lead. Bahrain were now in dire straits with score reading 101 for 8 and 32 runs from 17 overs seem unlikely as wickets kept falling at the other end.

Abhisek Shetty joined David Mathias as the 10th batsman and he played a hero’s role to give Bahrain the first innings lead. He played with great maturity and grit. He did not give his wicket away and it is a lesson for the other illustrious batsman to learn. The pair slowly put on runs with David Mathias scoring and Abhisek holding up his end. In the 56th over Bahrain took the crucial lead and there were celebrations all around. Abhisek had played 55 balls for his 5 runs and remained not out. David was 49 not out….. Bahrain had secured 10 points and are presently comfortably placed to enter the semi-finals.

First-day heroes,
Mathias and Shetty

Tomorrow will be a crucial day for Team Bahrain. If Bahrain can score 150 in the remaining 3 overs they will get one more point. Afghanistan will then have to bat again and if Bahrain bowl them out Bahrain can collect another 5 points for getting 10 wickets.

However the feisty Afghans are expected to come hitting out. Their strategy will be to score as many runs as possible off 30 overs and declare the innings with around 150 on the board and try to get an outright win by putting Bahrain into bat as they have nothing to lose.

Day Two: Afghanistan v Bahrain

Bahrain started their day with still three overs left of their 60 overs quota. David who was not out on 49 faced the first ball of the day and made one run to reach his fifty. However Abhishek Shetty was out next ball LBW and the next batsman Sankarsh Suresh was out for a duck LBW by an inswinging yorker from Habibullah Ahmadzai. Bahrain finished their first innings with 137 runs. Bahrain got a 5 run lead and 5 valuable points.

Afghanistan started their innings with great grit and determination. The opening pair of Habibullah and Hejratullah scored 11 runs before Habibullah was caught behind off Anant Bahl. Hejratullah was the next to depart bowled by Cyrus while on 22. Captain Zard Ali Ali who played some fabulous strokes was the next to depart bowled by David Mathias while on 22. The team score of 64 for 4 in 15 overs looked pretty good. David Mathias then ripped through the middle order and the Afghans were now reduced to 105 for 7. Next batsman Nawid Nawaid and Spinghar Mohamandi batted with some very good strokes to take the score to 161 before David Mathias had Nawid LBW for 17 runs. The Afghans declared their innings in the 43rd over when they were reduced to 185 for 9 as they did not want to give Bahrain another bowling point. Pick of the bowlers was David Mathias who bowled 19 overs 3 maidens 64 runs and took 6 wickets. Anant, Cyrus and Divyesh took one each.

Bahrain decided to play for a draw. With their berth already secure all Bahrain had to do was not to lose wickets. Bahrain wanted their star batsman Sahil Parkash to start firing at this tournament and a good knock without pressure would do his off form a world of good. The opening pair of Divyesh Nambiar and Sahil Parkash played very cautiously and the pair put on 9 runs before Sahil was bowled by Nawaid for 3. Next batsman Karan Singh who was sent to hold the innings together was yorked by Nawaid and Karan had to depart for a duck. Bahrain score board looked bad at 11 for 2. David then joined Divyesh at the crease and both played immaculately mature innings to take the score to 126 before David was LBW to Jawad Rahmani with only 4 balls left in the day. David had scored 69 runs off 102 balls. Divyesh remained not out on 40 off 145 balls and Rahul Ramchandran faced 4 balls and was not out on 0.

The semifinals will now be played on 4th & 5th May . Bahrain will take on Nepal at Club Amman. Host Malaysia will take on UAE at the Royal Selangor Club. The plate relegation matches will be between Singapore and Kuwait at Kilat Club, and Afghanistan and Hong Kong at Royal Military College.

David Mathias with the Man of the Match Award

Filed October 11 2006