Bhutan's Anand Chettri

The opening match of the ACC U-15 Challenge Cup and the first official international game to be played at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Chiang Mai saw Bhutan put on a brilliant performance to gain a victory over Maldives by 49 runs.

Bhutan were put in to bat by Maldives and looked shaky at the start, playing and missing. The Bhutanese total was considerably helped by the regular donation of extras by the Maldivian bowlers, a total of 45 throughout the game. Runs also seemed to come off fielding errors with the wicket-keeper being partuicularly culpable. Mohamed Razan's (1-39) short run up and constant short pitched deliveries were not taken advantage of by the Bhutanese batsmen, who thanks to an over-cautious mindset and the drilling into them by their coaches of the virtues of playing straight were all played defensively. When Sanjeevan Gurung (6) did try and pull one such delivery, he skied the ball for an easy catch.

Bhutan team warm up

For all the Maldivians haplessness, the Bhutans remained nervy and Kinley Wangchuk was run-out for 5. Norbu and Singye steadied things for Bhutan and struck a few boundaries before Norbu was caught behind with the score at 54-3.

The Bhutanese grew in confidence, with Jigme Singye (45) the instigator of some beautifully crafted shots, smashing six boundaries. His partnership of 63 runs with Anand Chettri (18) was the boost the team needed.

The introduction of the spinners seemed to do the trick for Maldives as the run rate noticeably dropped. Chettri in particular struggled with Mohamed Sajan (2-22) and Mohamed Jailam (3-6).

With the run-rate in dire need of resuscitation, the batsmen started hitting out in the last overs and though the runs came, so too did the wickets fall. Bhutan finished at 154-8 in 40 overs.

The Maldivian innings saw a feisty Bhutan bowling attack hampered when their opening bowler, Thinley Jamisho was suspended from bowling after just three overs. He had already been warned twice for bowling beamers and after the third, was made to stop bowling by the umpire. Bhutan continued their assault by other means however and Maldives found themselves struggling 66-4 after 10 overs.

The Maldivian wickets came crumbling down when Anand Chettri (3-18) and Jigme Singye (3-8) came in to bowl and there was no looking back from there as Bhutan steamrolled the lower order. Maldives were bowled out at 105 after 21.4 overs as Bhutan went on to win by 49 runs.

MoM Bhutan's Jigme Singye
and match referee Taran Persaud

The Man of the Match award was presented to Jigme Singye.

Maldives won the toss and elected to field
Bhutan: 154 for 8 in 40 overs (J. Singye 45; M. Jailam 3-6)
Maldives: 105 all out after 21.4 overs (A. Chettri 3-18, J. Singye 3-8)

Man of the Match: Jigme Singye (Bhutan)

Filed December 14 2006