by Richard Lockwood

United Arab Emirates finished their competition in style by beating Maldives by nine wickets at Traidhos Oval in Chiang Mai. Maldives collapsed dramatically to 49 all out as off-spinner Bilal Passela took seven wickets in 11 balls including a hat-trick.

UAE gained their fourth win in five matches as they raced to 54 for 1 in 5.5 overs to improve their net run-rate and they look set to gain promotion to the Elite Division while Maldives have lost all five matches in the tournament.

Maldives started well after winning the toss and choosing to bat as Ibrahim Rizan lifted Ahsan Ali over mid on for six in the first over. The Maldives openers survived the first five overs and the UAE bowlers contributed a number of wides but Bikramjeet Singh, man of the match in the last match against Qatar, found a way through Ibrabhim Rizan's defence and the first wicket was lost with the score on 17.

Maldives reached 21 for 1 at the end of the first eight overs and UAE immediately took the bowling powerplay as Waruna Kalhara replaced Ahsan Ali and he claimed a wicket in his first over as Adam Nasif was bowled for 2. Maldives were 21 for 2 and UAE then turned to spin as Bilal Passela came on to bowl the 10th over.

Maldives were making slow but steady progress and UAE further helped their cause by bowling more wides than their coach would have liked and also dropped a catch in the outfield. A second spinner Simon Charles was introduced, then the medium pace of Hammad Karim but the ball was not going to hand as Maldives reached 37 for 2 after the first hour's play.

Runs off the bat continued to be at a premium as opener Mohamed Shadhuhan defended stoutly but his painstaking innings came to an end on 50 balls but only four runs as he pushed Bilal Passela to silly point. Two balls later Tushar Sunil did exactly the same and Hassan Samah was stumped first ball as 48 for two suddenly became 48 for five in the space of four balls but at least the hat-trick ball was survived.

Worse was to follow for Maldives after Ismail Nashwan had managed a single to take the score to 49 for five. Ahmed Aiham was bowled for a duck by Simon Charles to leave Maldives 49 for six after 20 overs. The mainstay of Maldives batting was then caught at mid on off the first ball of Bilal's next over for 12 and after surviving his first two balls Ahmed Yaseen followed in the same manner.

Mohammad Lamman was bowled first ball and Bilal finished the innings off by completing his hat-trick as Hassan Jasir was caught at silly point. Eight wickets had fallen for one run, seven of them to Bilal in the space of 11 balls. An extraordinary collapse by Maldives but not a complete surprise after China’s Zhang Huanhui had taken 5 wickets in 6 balls against them the day before.

It was a case of one wicket brings eight so praise must be given to Mohammad Shadhuhan and Ismail Nashwan for their partnership of 27 which had taken Maldives to the heights of 48 for two. Sadly 49 all out would not prove much of a test for UAE.

Abdulla Saif was promoted to open the batting for UAE and he hit the first ball of the innings to the boundary. His partner Shiv Mehra has impressed during the tournament so UAE were making good progress as they tried to win the match before lunch. They reached 30 for no wicket in the first three overs.

The main alarm for UAE came after a direct hit on the stumps was achieved but umpire Richard Folds shook his head and a single was scored. Abdulla Saif was enjoying himself and Shiv Mehra came down the wicket to hit a lofted off-drive for four. Abdulla Saif was finally caught at mid-wicket for 19 when trying to hit the winning runs after a stand of 48. Karthik Shekar came to the crease and hit his first ball high over long on for six to end the match in style.

UAE won by nine wickets to take them to eight points and even though Afghanistan still have to play Qatar at Gymkhana UAE still look highly likely to gain promotion to the ACC U-16 Elite Division.

ACC U-16 Challenge Cup 2012

Maldives v UAE at Traidhos Oval
Maldives won the toss and chose to bat
Maldives: 49 all out off 21 overs (B. Passela 7-4)
UAE: 54 for 1 off 5.5 overs
Man of the Match: Bilal Passela (UAE)

Tournament page

Filed March 9th, 2012