Report by Richard Lockwood, CAT

Singapore couldn’t take advantage of good chances to beat Qatar and Hong Kong in their previous matches in the ACC Under 19 Elite Cup but at the third attempt they finally tasted success by overcoming Malaysia by four wickets.

There was much riding on the match at PTIS Oval because if Malaysia won today, another victory against Hong Kong at Gymkhana Club on Sunday would take them through to the semi-finals, while Singapore were looking for their first win of the competition.

Singapore have bowled well so far in the tournament and again took an early wicket. Zubair Asyraf caught behind off Karthik Suresh for 5 to leave the total on the newly painted scoreboard on 6 for 1 in the third over.

Opening bowlers Karthik Suresh and Varun Sivaram were bowling a good line and Singapore were noisy in the field. Malaysia 9 for 1 after 5 overs.

Singapore pushed Malaysia's batsmen onto the back foot and it paid dividends as Fikri Makram cut in the air to backward point and later in the over Keithan Goonasagaran was caught and bowled. Karthik Suresh now had figures of 3 for 10 in 5 overs and Malaysia were in trouble at 23 for 3.

The wickets continued to fall. New batsman Syahadat Ramli hit the ball past the bowler and called for a single only for partner Zachary Shunmugam to be run out for 9. 25 for 4 after 10 overs.

Malaysia had reached 41 for 4 in 14 overs at drinks with runs still hard to come by

They lost their fifth wicket when Rezza Gaznavi took a brilliant catch to give Varun Sivaram his first wicket in his eighth over, and soon afterwards Adnan Zahid was bowled by Iishan Shekhar to leave the Malaysian innings in ruins at 44 for 6

Varun Sivaram who took four wickets in the last match against Hong Kong finished another impressive spell with one wicket for 24 in his 10 overs.

Spin was been introduced at both ends and Abhiraj Singh took a wicket in his first over, first having a catch dropped at slip, then dismissing Pavithren Nadaesan lbw for 9 to leave the score on 64 for 7 in the 25th over.

Malaysia had seemed to be on the road to recovery thanks to contrasting innings from Derek Duraisingham and Nazril Rahman when the captain’s innings was ended on 9 in 40 balls when he was run out by a direct hit from Abhiraj Singh as the eighth wicket fell on 94.

Numbers nine and ten Nazril and Hazrul then proved more than capable with the bat as the runs were flowing for the first time in the innings.

Singapore's captain Rezza Gaznavi looked under pressure for the first time so he brought himself on to bowl and took a wicket with his first ball as the ninth wicket fell at 125 in the 37th over. Good bowling change, captain.

Nazril Rahman batted with great style and a fine range of shots for a tailender but he was last man out for 41 when he holed out to deep mid-wicket. He had come to the crease at 64 for 7, so the last three wickets had added a useful 73 as Malaysia totalled 137 in 38.2 overs.

Karthik Suresh finished with figures of 3 for 29, and five other bowlers took a wicket apiece to go with two run outs after a good morning’s work in the field for Singapore. Would their batsmen be able to keep cool and take their country to victory?

Singapore made a steady start in pursuit of a target of 138 as the openers made it through to the lunch interval when the score stood on 17 for no wicket in 6 overs.

But they lost their first wicket in the eighth over with the score on 22 as Mohammad Hazrul trapped Vinay Rohira lbw for 4.

It looked like we could still have a close match on our hands as one captain dismissed the other when Derek Duraisingham of Malaysia had Rezza Gaznavi of Singapore lbw for 5. The total was still a healthy 53 for 2 but Rezza is often the mainstay of his team's batting.

Singapore lost their third wicket in the 20th over when Abishek Aiyer played across the line to left-arm spinner Nik Nabil to fall lbw for 29. The match still in the balance with the score on 66 for 3 after 20 overs.

Prasheen Param and Vikas Rajgopal were batting with great caution except for a free hit that was smashed for six by Prasheen and Singapore's cause was also aided by five penalty runs when the ball hit the helmet behind the wicket-keeper, so it was a great surprise when a mix up between the batsmen led to the run out of Prasheen for 17. Surely Singapore couldn’t waste another golden chance to win?

At the half-way stage they were nervously placed on 90 for 4. 48 more runs to win.

The hundred came up with four wickets down but Vikas Rajgopal was then bowled for 11 to make the score 102 for five. Singapore are not making this chase look easy but Malaysia have already contributed 33 in extras.

Iishan Shekhar was the next to go as he tried to clear the mid-wicket boundary and failed and after 30 overs Singapore were 110 for six. 28 runs or 4 wickets: which side would hold their nerve?

Singapore’s score inched closer to the target and they were 122 for 6 after 35 overs. 16 runs to win and Derek Duraisingham had finished with the outstanding figures of 10-6-13-1.

The seventh wicket partnership between Sarang Krishnan and Varun Sivaram was growing confidently. Varun hits a boundary through the covers to take the score to 133 for 6. Only five more to win

The end came easily with singles pushed into the gaps and another perfectly placed off-side boundary from the cultured bat of Varun Sivaram. Singapore gained their first win of the tournament as they reached 139 for 6 to win by 4 wickets.

If Singapore could follow this victory with another against Bahrain at PTIS Oval and Malaysia could beat Hong Kong at Gymkhana either side could squeeze into the semi-finals on net run-rate. Exciting times in the ACC Under 19 Elite Cup.

ACC U-19 Elite Cup 2011

Group A: Malaysia v Singapore at Prem
Malaysia won the toss and chose to bat
Malaysia: 137 all out off 38.2 overs (N. Rahman 41; K. Suresh 3-29)
Singapore: 139 for 6 off 38.5 overs
Man of the Match: Karthik Suresh (Singapore)

Tournament page

Filed February 5th, 2011