MALAYSIAN HEARTS BREAK AS HOSTS LOSE NAIL-BITER

The fight for third place saw the hosts take on UAE at the Selangor Turf Club today – and what a game it turned out to be. In yet another rain-affected match, the UAE went on to win the game in the very last delivery by 5 runs after the D/L method had been put to use.

Ananthasivam rattled the UAE batsmen throughout his spell

It all started well for UAE when they won the toss and elected to bat. Malaysian pace spearhead Sarath Ananthasivam (3-20) may have given them cause for worry when he had opener Mehtab Ali (8) caught in the seventh over, but this anguish was soon put to rest.

Mustafa: A match-winning performance

A slow yet significant partnership of 57 between Rohan Mustafa (66) and Wasim Bari (35) was built over the next 17 overs. Mustafa looked unstoppable, even after Bari’s wicket fell, as he batted the entire innings before his lost his wicket in the 46th over bringing an end to the UAE innings. Only two other batsmen, Owais Hameed (11) and Obaid Hameed (11), scored in double figures, making Mustafa’s feat an astonishing one. A total of 8 boundaries with two humungous sixes helped UAE to finish at what seemed to be a respectable total of 172.

The previous game Malaysia played at the Selangor Turf club saw them take on Hong Kong, yet another rain interrupted game. In that match, the weather played a vital role in Malaysia’s win and as the rain came down today, a sense of déjà vu crept in. Little did the hosts realize that the wicket of opener Shafiq Sharif (2) just before rain break, was about to lead to, what was, a very close finish.

With the score at 22-1 after 7.5 overs before the break, play resumed after the D/L method had been calculated. The amended target was now 131 in 32 overs – 109 runs off 149 balls.

Two quick wickets later and the Malaysians began the nail-biting. Muhammad Faizal (32) and Aminuddin Ramly (24) were there to pick up the pieces and lasted 10 overs adding 39 runs. Quick reflexes from wicket-keeper Mehtab Ali in the 21st over had Ramly’s bails removed before he could get back into the crease. At this point, Malaysia were still getting the runs with their captain Ahmad Faiz (38) batting but soon frustration crept in when the ball seemed to find a fielder wherever it was hit.

Faizal eventually threw away his wicket as he tried the aerial route of clearing the fielders – the ball landed comfortably in Irfan Ahmed’s hands. Even at this point, the hosts had the advantage with 28 runs required off 36 balls.

Malaysia’s Coach, Shahidul Alam, pointed out that there were too many dot balls which eventually led to excessive pressure.

Malaysia’s Ahmad Faiz put on a brave show

Excessive pressure – that would be eleven runs off the last over as Faiz faced Obaid Hameed (2-25), a slow left-arm orthodox bowler. Six runs were got in four deliveries with the fifth ball being a dot ball. The very last delivery - five runs to win and four to draw. It was a matter of who would keep their cool but Faiz was left with no option but to come down the pitch and swing wildly hoping to connect. A slightly short-pitched ball, turning away was enough for the batsman to miss completely. The bails were off and Malaysia had lost by five runs as UAE went to clinch the third spot.

Alam said, “The UAE’s field placements were spot on and they used their powerplays very cleverly. It is disappointing to lose but the players did very well throughout the tournament and they have learned a lot.”

3rd and 4th Playoff
Malaysia v UAE
at Selangor Turf Club
UAE WON BY 5 RUNS (D/L METHOD)
UAE won the toss and elected to bat
UAE: 172 all out after 45.4 overs (R. Mustafa 66, W. Bari 35; S. Ananthasivam 3-20, F. Ariffin 3-25)
Malaysia: 126 for 6 after 32 overs (M. Faizal 32, A. Faiz 38)
Man of the Match: Rohan Mustafa (UAE)

Scorecard

Filed August 28 2007