by Richard Lockwood

There were signs of hope in the field for an inexperienced China side, but leg-spinner Patum Herath proved too much for their batsmen returning figures of eight for 11 as Qatar won by 88 runs.

Even in the first few overs of the match at Gymkhana Club in Chiang Mai it was clear that Qatar were a more experienced side than their Chinese opponents. Both openers hit several powerful shots and the Chinese fielding looked ragged.

Qatar reached fifty in the 9th over and spin was introduced along with the bowling powerplay in the next over. Qatar still looked untroubled but China had cut down the extras which would have pleased coach Manjural Islam.

China fought back strongly as Fu Gaofeng dismissed both openers and off-spinner Han Minjian claimed the key wicket of Qatar captain Saad Khan as the score reached 71 for 3 after 15 overs.

China had looked out of their depth at the start of the match but their fightback continued as the spinners claimed two more wickets and it was Qatar's turn to struggle at the halfway stage when they were 89 for 5.

Qatar then began to consolidate against the spinners. Manjural Islam is the coach of all China's junior teams and he reported that he has only had two days to work with this side after his return from Bangladesh. Some of the boys have only being playing cricket for two weeks and this is the first organized match for most of the team. China's performance had so far been remarkable given their inexperience.

Qatar still had a chance to reach 200 as Sujit Sadagopan and Patum Herath were batting with care but once the two set batsmen were out it was a different story as China looked to bowl out their opponents inside 40 overs.

China can be proud of their performance in the field after a shaky start as they dismissed Qatar for 160 in 37.2 overs. The last four wickets fell for six runs as the lower-order looked far less proficient than the top order batsmen. China will bat before lunch. How will their openers fare?

They survived seven overs before lunch as 19 extras made up the majority of their total, Han Minjian scoring all four runs made of the bat. China now needed 137 from 33 overs to win.

China had survived until lunch but they soon lost their first wicket soon after the resumption as Han Minjian was bowled by Patum Herath.

China's good start soon become a distant memory as their batsmen all seem unable to cope with the spinning ball. Patum Herath quickly completed a five-wicket haul and had the opportunity to add more victims to his tally.

History was in the making for the young leg-spinner as he had figures of eight for six after seven overs. He spun his leg breaks prodigiously but snared most of his victims with his fast ball in the fashion of Shahid Afridi. He had one more over to take all ten.

He duly completed his spell, conceding five runs from his last over to finish with figures of 8-3-11-8 to defeat China almost single-handedly. Only two wickets were left to take and Tijin Saji claimed the ninth with his slow left-arm spin.

Tijin Saji finished off the innings with his second wicket and it was fitting that Patum Herath took the catch so that he had a hand in nine of the ten dismissals. China were bowled out for 72 as Qatar completed a comprehensive victory by 88 runs.

ACC U-16 Challlenge 2012

China v Qatar at Chiang Mai Gymkhana
Qatar won the toss and chose to bat
Qatar: 160 all out off 37.2 overs (H. Gaofeng 3-21, H. Minjian 3-35)
China: 72 all out off 26 overs (P. Herath 8-11)
Man of the Match: Patum Herath (Qatar)

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Filed March 5th, 2012