Maldives certainly looked the dominant team throughout the game as their batting total of 260 was too much for Saudi Arabia as they won by 138 runs to take the 5th spot in the ACC U-15 Challenge Cup here at the AIT ground in Bangkok.

Coming into this game, Saudi Arabia had a better winning record than Maldives in the group stages, winning two out of their four games, albeit against China and Myanmar.

Adil: An early break

Maldives, after winning the toss, chose to bat and were immediately susceptible to the bowling of Mohamed Adil (1-41) as their first wicket fell in the third over for 22.

Mifthah (R) is congratulated by Shayyal (L) on his 50
An ecstatic Shayyal celebrates 50 runs scored

This being the last game for both teams in the tournament, Maldives obviously wanted to leave with a lasting impression. Ismail Shayyal (52) and Ahmed Mifthah (99) both took advantage of loose bowling and sloppy fielding, which happened more often than not, to put on a very mature batting performance with a 117 – run partnership. Always attentive, the batsmen went up against Saudi attack, playing some of their best cricket this entire tournament.

Zubair Mohamed could’ve taken some shine off Captain Mifthah’s innings after he dropped a sitter when the batsman was on 84. Mifthah was soon beginning to feel the strain of the game when he needed a runner to stand in for him after he twisted his left ankle but continued to bat in scintillating form to finish at a harsh 99.

Although Maldives lost two quick wickets in one over, they went on to finish at a very strong 260-7, thanks to the toothless bowling and pathetic fielding performance by the Saudi team.

Saudi Arabia faced a high asking rate of 6.5 per over and the target looked even bigger after their first wicket fell on the sixth ball of the innings. The situation tilted the game in Maldives’ favour but Saudi Captain, Abdul Samad (16), was just starting to play some beautiful shots when he unfortunately sliced the ball straight into Ahmed Evan’s hands.

Medical attention for Captain Mifthah

A third wicket fell soon after in the same over and it seemed Saudi were going nowhere with the game, except, maybe play out the entire innings. This seemed too soon to tell as the score stood at 40-3 after only 10 overs.

After 20 overs, Saudi had lost four more wickets for a total of just 45 runs. Mohamed Adil (31) somewhat held the batting order together as he stayed out on crease to score 31 runs but it wasn’t enough to salvage much as the team crashed to a total of just 122 after 26.3 overs leaving Maldives winners by 138 runs.

Man of the Match: Ahmed Mifthah

For a show of class and smart batting, Maldivian Captain Ahmed Mifthah was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match.

Maldives v Saudi Arabia at AIT, Bangkok
Maldives won the toss and elected to bat
Maldives: 260 – 7 in 40 overs (I. Shayyal 52, A. Mifthah 99; M. Taher 3- 53)
Saudi Arabia: 122 all out after 26.3 overs (M. Adil 31; M. Sajan 4-33)

Man of the Match: Ahmed Mifthah (Maldives)

Filed December 20 2006