China endured a difficult opening day in the ACC U-19 Challenge as they arrive only hours before the start of their first match against Singapore and capitulated rather quickly as they were bowled out for 68 on the way to a seven wicket defeat at AIT.
China had the chance to make up for that poor performance as they took on Iran at Terdthai and they seemed determined to put things right but it was a surprise that the spinners from both sides who held sway as China won a low-scoring match by five wickets.
Iran won the toss and elected to bat first but they lost their first wicket in the 5th over as Faramarz Shahbakhsh was bowled by Hu Gaofeng for 7 after an opening partnership of 21 with Ali Rahdar.
Runs proved hard to come by in the first powerplay as the batsmen were content to wait for the bad ball. It was interesting that China turned to spin at both ends inside the first ten overs with captain Wang Jing and Chen Jinfeng both bowling off-spin to tightly packed fields.
The pressure built up by the two spinners paid dividends as Ali Rahdar was dismissed lbw by Chen Jinfeng for 11 with the score on 33 and two more spinners were quickly introduced into the attack, Han Minjiang who bowls fast off-breaks and leg-spinner Zhong Wenyi
China's spin attack continued to bamboozle Iran's batsmen as every attacking shot attempted seemed to result in a wicket and then left-hander Hossein Lashari was completely deceived as the leg-spinner claimed his second wicket.
Perhaps China were showing the benefits of having an international coach in charge as their spin based attack was very reminiscent of the type of cricket played in Bangladesh and Manjural Islam says there are more spinners to come. Han Minjian was extremely accurate and when he claimed his second wicket he had the remarkable figures of 7-6-2-2. He was forming a lethal combination with the flighted leg-spin of Zhong Wenyi at the other end.
Iran had been struggling to such an extent against this diet of slow bowling that their fifty was raised only in the 27th over but Han Minjian was beginning to tire and to drop the ball short.
The off-spinner was taken out of the attack with one over still to bowl with figures of 2 for 7 and yet another spinner, Song Yangyang, was given a chance. Masood Jayezeh drove him for a rare boundary but captain Ahmad Shadzehisarjou fell lbw to his opposite number Wang Jing when he brought himself back into the attack. Iran were 63 for 7 in the 31st over.
Masood Jayezeh looked more comfortable against the turning ball than his team-mates as he has already played for the senior Iran side and bowls leg-spin himself. He hit four fours in his 22 before his luck ran out and he holed out to deep mid-wicket against Wang Jing who immediately claimed a third wicket and Iran were now nine down. Qing Peng, the sixth spinner, and left-handed, needed only one ball to finish the innings as Iran were bowled out for 78.
China needed to make 79 for victory and after a ten minute break between innings their batsmen had an ideal chance to make up for a poor performance on the first day against Singapore.
But we were to have an exciting match on our hands at Terdthai as Iran also turned to spin after just one over of medium pace from captain Ahmad Shadzehisarjou. Both openers soon perished against spinners Afshin Tirehdast and Wahab Khursand, as a lack of practice for the Chinese batting line up may prove costly.
China were making slow progress as Wahab Khursand and Afshin Tirehdast bowled a series of maidens but it was left-arm spinner Hossein Lashari who made the next breakthrough as he bowled Ling Zhengpei for 7 to leave China on 30 for 3.
Iranian leg-spinner Masood Jayaseh was brought into the attack in the 18th over and his spell was likely to be decisive as he was turning the ball but conceding runs in wides.
China's fourth-wicket pair remained content to accumulate runs in singles and to benefit from the occasional wide. The fifty came up in the 24th over and with lunch approaching Afshin Tirehdast was back for a second spell.
China's admirable patience as they seemed content to occupy the crease suddenly came to an end as Zhong Wenyi was caught at deep mid-wicket off Afshin Tirehdast for 18 to leave China on 55 for 4. Wahab Khursand also came back in the search for another wicket and although China were 19 runs short of their target with six wickets left, play continued after the time of the scheduled lunch so the match could reach a quick conclusion.
Perhaps it was the desire for a hearty lunch but left-hander Qing Peng suddenly went on the attack against the more variable left-arm spin of Zobeir Afarin and hit his first boundary and then his second to bring China within seven runs of victory.
Leg-spinner Masood Jayeseh changed ends and it brought him a change of luck as China captain Wang Jing was caught attempting a sweep shot but Qing Peng finished the match with a straight drive for three as China won by five wickets. China were 79 for 5 in 32.1 overs with Qing Peng unbeaten on 25.
China had recovered well from a disappointing first match but Iran have still got plenty to play for as the three teams in Group A play each other twice before the semi-finalists are decided.
ACC U-19 Challenge 2013
Group A: Iran v China at Terdthai
CHINA WON BY FIVE WICKETS
Iran won the toss and chose to bat
Iran: 78 all out off 33.1 overs (W.Jing 3-14)
China: 79 for 5 off 32.1 overs
Man of the Match: Qing Peng (China)
Filed December 8th, 2013