"It was the worst ever defeat in the history of Kuwait cricket," said Kuwait's manager Asad Baig after his team went down by 138 runs at the Bayuemas Oval on the second day of the ACC U-19 Elite Cup. "We lost the match in our bowling," he continued. 40 wides in 50 overs tell their own tale as Kuwait's new ball bowlers fresh from a tour of dry and dusty Karachi couldn't come to terms with the shiny new white ball in hot and humid Kuala Lumpur.

Kuwait's wicket-keeper Abdul Munaf had a torrid time as he kept diving down the leg-side to gather booming inswinger after inswinger.

Robert Bacon (50 off 73) and Courtney Kruger (46 off 56) took full advantage of the wayward Kuwaiti attack, Kruger with seven fours being particularly severe on anything off his pads. Even the normally reliable spin of Navtej Singh didn't escape punishment as he went for 54 off his ten overs. Hong Kong lost their way a little after Kruger's fall, seventh out with the score on 198 in the 38th over. At one stage, a total of 270 looked possible and though 245 was a little below par, it was a challenging total for Kuwait to chase.

Kuwait didn't get out of the blocks. Hong Kong, cannily opened with the slow left-arm of John Bacon who reeled off 10 consecutive overs for just 26, taking the important wicket of Kuwait opener Shoeb Mohammed in the process. Three big wickets fell with the score on 40 (Mehdi, Singh, Mohammed) before the end of the 10th over and the remaining batsmen couldn't push on, only Munaf reaching double figures.

Notwithstanding this big victory, Hong Kong's coach Lal Jayasinghe said "We still have a lot to do. We need to up our game by at least 10% if we're going to get into the semi-finals. We're in a hard group ( with Afghanistan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar) but if we play tough cricket we'll get through."

Group B
Hong Kong v Kuwait
at Bayuemas Oval
Hong Kong won the toss and chose to bat
Hong Kong: 245 (R. Bacon 50, C. Kruger 46; A. Liaqat 4-25)
Kuwait: 107 off 33.4 overs (N. Ahmed 3-10)
Man of the Match: Robert Bacon (Hong Kong)


Filed August 21 2007