|Match Referee Venkatapathi Raju with the captain of China U-19 Wang Jing and captain of Singapore U-19 Varun Sivaram at The Asian Institute of Technology Ground, Bangkok|
Flight delays meant China arrived in the early hours, and with barely two hours sleep left for the AIT ground on the outskirts of north Bangkok. They faced a rested and well- groove Singapore and were forced onto the back foot from the start.
The AIT has just completed its redevelopment after being under four feet of water during the floods of November 2011; the pitch played well, with decent carry. Brigu Iyer received due reward for some hostile bowling by getting through Han Miniian's defences. At the other end, Karthik Suresh bowled a steady off-stump corridor line and once he realised the ball was swinging, "it surprised us, how much it swung" said Singapore's captain he became a very difficult bowler for the young Chinese to play.
Persistence paid off, a back of a length ball delivery from Karthik climbed up to take the edge. China's runs off the bat were all from deflections behind the wicket. It was the ninth over before a Song Yangyang cover drive saw the Chinese play with more authority and he looked a fine batsman. He's played in the last Asian Games and will do in the next but once his patient in Inge ended, caught behind off the bustling Rajesh Krishnan, China were up against it.
Singapore kept chipping away and once the spinners came on, China's batsmen were further tested. Abhiraj Singh - who plays for the Singapore seniors bowled Lin Zhengpei with a delivery that pitched on leg and took off. Ge Yongsheng smote Abhiraj over midwicket for China's first boundary, but was then caught at fly slip trying to repeat the shot.
China's batsmen used their feet far more than any of their previous teams but with the outfield's long grass and uphill slope to the moat side, boundaries there were to be no more. The wicket became more difficult to bat on under the baking sun, with increasing turn and bounce for the spinners. Navin Param wrapped up the innings with two in two.
China were all out for 68 and with a Singapore wicket falling in the first over to a catch at mid-on, an upset was scented. Singapore latched on anything loose of which there was quite a bit and with a couple of half-chances not going to hand, Singapore were cruising. Two quick wickets, to strokes the batsmen will not be proud of, were a fair reward for the flashes of talent and considerable effort the Chinese showed.
A bread-and-butter single to long on by Abhiraj gave Singapore the win by seven wickets. China have improved at this level, but Singapore were too good for them today.
ACC U-19 Challenge 2013
Group A: Singapore v China at AIT
SINGAPORE WON BY SEVEN WICKETS
China won the toss and chose to bat
(Match reduced to 40 overs)
China: 68 all out off 31.5 overs (A.Singh 3-14)
Singapore: 69 for 3 off 11.3 overs (A.Goenka 34*)
Man of the Match: Abhiraj Singh (Singapore)
Filed December 7th, 2013