by Richard Lockwood

United Arab Emirates made it two wins out of two in the ACC U-16 Challenge Cup by defeating China by 227 runs but they will face favourites Afghanistan in the next match which could well decide the winners of the competition.

UAE scored more than 300 in their first match against Bhutan and their openers were confident mood against China. 12 runs came from the first over, 14 from the second as dot balls were a rare commodity. China's opening bowlers eventually found an off-stump line to slow the rate and UAE were 43 for no wicket after 5 overs.

UAE's fifty came up during the 7th over and the score was a healthy 61 for no wicket at the end of the mandatory powerplay, as the openers pushed the singles to a deep set field and put away the bad balls with aplomb.

China's spinners were able to transform the course of the innings against Qatar who were bowled out for 160 after looking set for a big score. They would need to do something similar today as UAE have reached 94 for no wicket after 15 overs.

The 100 came up in the 16th over, as their openers repeated their feat from their first match by sharing a century partnership. Salman Raza duly reached his second fifty of the tournament from 60 balls with five fours.

Boundaries had been hard to hit against the spinners so Salman Raza tried a pull shot and was lbw to impressive slow left-arm spin of Shen Jaijie, then opening partner Shiv Mehra fell for 43 from the next ball caught at mid off from the bowling of Chen Jinfeng. Once again China were back in the game thanks to the efforts of their spinners.

The loss of both openers in successive balls proved a temporary setback for UAE as Karthik Shekar and Waruna Kalohara started brightly. They both went for their shots during an entertaining third wicket partnership. China's outfielders were chasing the ball valiantly but the 200 came off the last ball of the 30th over

Karthik Shekar reached his fifty from 42 balls, by hitting his eighth four and completing the 100 partnership at the same time. After taking the batting powerplay 300 looked to be a formality for UAE but Shekar was dismissed for 68 by the last ball of Shen Jiajie's spell.

Waruna Kalohara reached his fifty from 42 balls with five fours before the Chinese finally caught a catch on the boundary and suddenly a direct hit brought a run out. 249 for 5 with five overs to go.

UAE's final total reached 281 for 7 in 40 overs, 32 runs coming from the last five overs as the Chinese bowlers and fielders kept going until the very end. Two mornings in the field will have been hot work for China and they now have a stiff task ahead with the bat.

China were facing a target of 282 in 40 overs but lost their first wicket with the score on eight when Tian Suqing fell to a superb diving catch from keeper Ritik Bagchi from the bowling of Ahsan Ali.

UAE’s bowlers were firmly on top as China's batsmen struggled to cope with the swinging ball. Bikramjeet Singh followed the example of the Afghans by pitching the ball up and was rewarded with the wickets of Hong Gaofeng and Wang Huanhui.

The fourth wicket fell in similar fashion as opener Hian Minjian's vigil ended on 11 from 43 balls, bowled by Waruna Kaluhara. UAE's wicket-keeper Ritik Bagchi was involved in a collision as he attempted another catch but was patched up during the drinks break.

Spin was introduced and China's batsmen had their problems against slow bowling in their previous match and in no time the fifth wicket had fallen, and then the sixth, but at least Simon Charles' hat-trick ball was carefully defended.

China's wickets continued to fall at a frantic rate. Zhang Lisheng was lbw without playing a shot and Liu Fuqiang hit a gentle catch to mid-wicket. as leg-spinner Karthik Shekar started with a wicket maiden.

China's last two wickets fell in similar fashion as Chen Jinfeng and Hu Gaofeng were both bowled for ducks by Hammad Karim who finished with figures of 3 for 8. China were bowled out for 54 and UAE were victorious by 227 runs.

UAE have joined Afghanistan on four points at the top of the table in the ACC U-16 Challenge Cup so tomorrow's contest at Gymkhana between the two sides will go a long way to deciding the winners of the competition. Afghanistan look the stronger side but UAE will surely provide the Afghans with their sternest test.

ACC U-16 Challenge Cup 2012

China v UAE at Gymkhana
UAE won the toss and chose to bat
UAE: 281 for 7 off 40 overs ( S. Raza 53, S. Mehra 43, K.Shekar 68, W. Kalohara 56)
China: 54 all out off 21 overs (H.Karim 3-8)
Man of the Match: Karthik Shekar (UAE)

Tournament page

Filed March 5th, 2012