ACC U-19 Challenge Cup 2009 - Bahrain v Maldives


Numan Yousaf

Bahrain arrived in Chiang Mai a couple of days after the other teams, in their absence giving time for their menace to develop. "Pre-tournament favourites along with Kuwait," says the Thai coach Ziaul Hoque, who nevertheless fancies his team's chances of beating both, "Middle East teams, they bat with power and one or two of them can be good bowlers." And some of the players can be outstanding.

Maldives must have fancied themselves to reach the semis at least and today they showed why. Their openers Jilwaz Rasheed and Mohamed Jailam started positively and had struck more 4s in the first five overs than the whole team had done in their match at Gymkhana against Thailand the day before. After 10 overs they were 64 for 0.

Maldives' Jailam Rasheed

Bahrain displayed another Gulf characteristic today, mostly hapless fielding along with erratic bowling. Maldives capitalised. A rejigged batting order and an easier wicket than the one on which they made just 38 off the bat against Thailand helped them to a decent score.

Going at 7 an over at one stage, Maldives gifted their first two wickets to Bahrain with some poor running. Bahrain's captain Numan Yousaf led by example in the field, with a hand in two of the first three wickets. And with the top-order's departure, the game settled into a standard 50-over pattern of run-accumulation interspersed with the occasional wickets.

Bahrain's little left-arm spinner Sameer Minhas showed plenty of ability and has a good head on him. He beat Mohamed Akram with a crafty faster ball, one delivery after he'd had him dropped in the deep.

Ismail Ali made hay and much merriment with an Inzamamish innings of 26 filled with plenty of meaty biffs and run-out chances. Sameer trapped him one ball after a sweetly flicked 6 over midwicket. Maldives were 151 for 5 at the halfway-stage.

Bahrain's spinners kept their team in the game, winkling out wickets and Minhas fittingly picked up the last as Bahrain were all out for 174 in the 33rd. Minhas and leggie Cyrus D'Souza, Minhas took 7-49 off 15.4 overs. 17 unused overs by the Maldives could only cost them.

Bahrain's batsmen against Maldives' opening bowlers was quite a contest. Numan Yousaf announced himself with a super cut off Hassan Ibrahim, economic, precise, clinical. Hassan struck back with a blow to the body two balls later, Yousaf beaten by pace and movement.

Yousaf plays for Bahrain seniors too and one stroke, a straight 6 driven on the up over the bowler Jilwaz Rasheed, was the shot of the day. A slim, small young man, who seems to have stroke options for every ball he faces, Yousaf had the connoisseurs at the Chiang Mai Gymkhana purring. He surely has a long future in the game.

Bahrain's Numan Yousaf

Bahrain passed 50 in the seventh over and were 66 for 0 after 10. Maldivian spin coming into play, Yousaf giving one sharp chance to slip off Mohamed Akram's first over. Akram did get in his next over though, and if Maldives could keep striking at the non-Yousaf end they were in with a chance. Yousaf reached 50 off 44 balls (five 4s, one 6) just before lunch.

Yousaf fell for 85 with a century in his sights but the remaining Bahraini batsmen weren't in any danger of failing and Bahrain romped home in the 29th over.

Bahrain's menace develops.

ACC U-19 Challenge 2009
Group B: Bahrain v Maldives at Chiang Mai Gymkhana
Maldives won the toss and chose to bat
Maldives: 174 off 32.4 overs (M.Jailam 41; C.D'Souza 3-17, S.Minhas 4-32)
Bahrain: 175 for 3 off 28.4 overs (N.Yousaf 85, P.Kashyap 33)
Man of the Match: Numan Yousaf (Bahrain)

Pictures courtesy Eric Little

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