ACC U-19 Challenge Cup 2009 - China v Myanmar


He Nenxing and Coach Ping Ping at Chiang Mai Gymkhana

Myanmar have been the one team China can consistently beat at this level, but since the last time they met (at senior level) in the ACC Trophy Challenge, Myanmar have narrowed the gap. But there is more than the Gulf of Tonkin between them still as China won by 117 runs in their ACC U-19 Challenge match at the Chiang Mai Gymkhana.

Under the tutelage of Bangladeshi coach Ashfaq-ul Islam Bappy they play straighter, bowl better and field with more aptitude. “We are a long way short of where I would like Myanmar to be, but much advance has happened,” he said while watching today’s match. The 14th wide of the innings passed down the leg-side as he spoke, making him say, “I want them to find out for themselves how much these little things cost. When they know that, they will automatically become better.”

China’s top order play straight but with little power Myanmar, scoring most of their runs behind square. Wides were keeping pace with the batsmen for the first ten overs, as China reached 28 for no loss.

Zhao Gaosheng is short

China’s running wasn’t assured, Myanmar’s fielding was enthusiastic if not excellent and there was plenty of dives and dashes into the crease by the batters. Myanmar stuck to their task and though their were more wides than their coach would have liked he was pleased with the way his team stuck to their task.

China always looked like losing wickets until their captain Zhang Yufei came in. He gave a caught and bowled chance to his opposite number Min Hein Khant, after driving him through midwicket. It was a big miss. ‘The Big Man’ as Zhang Yufei is called by his coach, finished the over with a 6. Of course he can score behind square, but he can also score all over the ground.

Zhang took a liking to Saw Phone Tet Phaing’s left arm full-tosses, reaching his 50 (46 balls, three 4s, four 6s) with a 6 over square leg. It was China’s first international 50 in three years of men’s international cricket (the women have made three). Not just because he was in a cap, where everyone else in his team wore helmets, Zhang looked a class apart today, batting with power and assurance, strong in defence and deft in attack when necessary.

Zhang Yufei

He was seventh out for 75, lbw to Yan Naing Kyaw having scored more than half of his team’s runs and created a landmark for himself and others to pass. The last man was run out off the last ball of the 50th over, and China became the first team to bat out an innings. “We wanted to bat 50 overs today, ‘Big Man’ made the difference,” said China’s coach Rashid Khan, “Myanmar had some good bowlers and didn’t make it very easy for us.” 181 was still the highest score of the tournament so far.

Min Wai, a 17-year old who’s been playing cricket for three years was the pick of them today, taking 3-18. Myat Min Hein took four good catches standing back and had the outfielders been a little sharper, China would have been in trouble.

Extras have been a worry for China’s coach Rashid Khan, “I wasn’t happy with the way they bowled (in China’s win) against Brunei,” when they conceded 27 wides in 27 overs. If Myanmar played through 50 overs today, China’s bowlers would put up a lot of the runs themselves.

Extras were indeed outscoring the batsmen until the 19th over but nine wickets had fallen by then. Aung Aung had played the shot of the day, a back-foot drive which raced to the mid-off boundary but was bowled next ball, which summed up Myanmar’s schizophrenic performance. They were all out for 64.

China celebrated each wicket with rampant joy – they have played a lot and are sick of losing. “I had no idea Myanmar even had a cricket team,” said one of the Australian spectators at the ground. They do, and their day will come eventually.

ACC U-19 Challenge 2009
Group A: China v Myanmar at Chiang Mai Gymkhana
Myanmar won the toss and elected to field
China: 181 all out off 50 overs (Z.Yufei 75; M.Wai 3-18)
Myanmar: 64 all out off 21.4 overs (H.Nengxing 5-9)
Man of the Match: Zhang Yufei (China)

Pictures by Eric Little

Tournament page