SAUDIS BREEZE THROUGH TO FINAL

ACC U-19 Challenge Cup Semi-Final
China v Saudi Arabia

The highest total of the tournament so far helped Saudi Arabia beat China by 191 runs at the Prem Oval and qualify for the Final of the ACC U-19 Challenge Cup.

Saudi Arabia were on top from the start and look to have a very strong batting order. Baffling then that China should choose to bowl after winning the toss.

If all China's bowlers were like Li Jian the decision to bowl first would be understandable. Li Jian, a whippy left-armer,  bowls with pace and intelligence and though he strayed a few too many times down the leg-side, he troubled all of the Saudi batsmen. Prem's surface suits the Saudi batsmen who play all their games back home on concrete and Mohsin Shabbir apart, they punished anything loose by the Chinese bowlers. Not that there was much of anything loose, whenever the Chinese bowlers landed on a length they were simply hit on the up time and time again. Three run-outs showed that the Chinese fielding was keen throughout.

Going into bat chasing 294 was always going to be monumentally difficult but Beijing's Zhang Yufei took the fight to the Saudi pacemen, cutting and pulling on the back-foot with power and playing some gorgeous cover drives. Well into the second power-play China were up with the run-rate but the moment Zhang Yufei fell for 47 (off 49 deliveries, with ten 4s) the wheels came off the run-chase. Plus, the Saudi spinners had come on and the Chinese just can't play the turning ball.

With additional reporting from Richard Bartholomew

ACC U-19 Challenge Cup Semi-Final 2
China v Saudi Arabia at Prem Oval
SAUDI ARABIA WON BY 191 RUNS
China won the toss and elected to field
Saudi Arabia: 294 for 8 off 50 overs (H.Khan 38, A. Hussain 49, W. Obeidy 54)
China: 103 after 23.3 overs (Z.Yufei 47; M. Imran 3-17, A.Hussain 4-8)
Man of the Match: Anwar Hussain (Saudi Arabia)

Scorecard

Filed January 16 2008