Malaysia took a major step towards the semi-finals of the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup Eastern Region qualifiers after being given a fright by Thailand in a 16-run win in their opening Group B match at the Kinrara Oval on Tuesday.

An abject batting display saw Malaysia skittled out for 94 in 30.3 overs but the hosts successfully defended the paltry total by dismissing Thailand for 78 runs in 26.4 overs.

Player of the Match: Muhammad Amir Azim (Malaysia)
Player of the Match: Vinit Chittesh Mehta (Singapore)

Amir Azim Shukor grabbed four wickets to put the brakes on Thailand and claim the man-of-the-match honour as Malaysia gained a crucial victory which puts them in a position to finish among the top two in the group.

But the plan nearly went pear-shaped as Malaysia's batsmen struggled to handle the onslaught of Sarawut Maliwan, whose five wickets came in a spell of 14 deliveries.

Amir, batting at No 3, were among those to fall early as Malaysia slumped to 14-2 before Wan Amirul Zulkarnain (29) and Visvaruben Kumar (11) took the score to 37 but no other partnership could get going.

In the end, an 18-run stand for the final wicket between tailenders Lokman Nor Hakim Sahar and Sachinu Hettige proved a big difference in the final analysis.

Malaysia knew they needed a big performance from the bowlers and soon had Thailand floundering at 21-3 with Amir taking two of the early wickets before Narawit Nuntarich (21) and Kongkidon (11) took the score to 48.

From there, Thailand lost seven wickets for the addition of 30 runs as Syukri Madeli, Sachinu and Amir wreaked havoc with the ball and Malaysia were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

"Thailand did pretty well as underdogs and put our batters under pressure. The basics were not right and we didn't play straight enough," said Malaysia captain Vijay Unni Suresh.

"But we started bowling well and I was confident we could defend our total because we have good bowlers."

Malaysia play Bhutan at the Selangor Turf Club on Wednesday when a win would secure a last-four berth although Vijay admitted his team may need to change their approach.

"We will have discussion about tomorrow's match and maybe there might be one change but we will have to see first because it will be a new wicket," said Vijay.

In a Group A match played at the newly-opened TPCA Oval in Kajang, Singapore dismissed China for just 28 runs before reaching 32-2 to win by eight wickets.

In other matches on Wednesday, favourites Nepal open their Group A campaign against China at Kinrara while Hong Kong face Thailand at TPCA.

Tue 2-Jul

Malaysia vs Thailand at Kinrara Oval
Malaysia won the toss and chose to bat
Malaysia: 94 all out off 30.3 overs (W.Zulkarnain 29; S.Maliwan 5-34)
Thailand: 78 all out off 26.4 overs (N.Nuntarach 21; M.Amir 4-15)
Player of the Match: Muhammad Amir Azim (Malaysia)

Singapore vs China at TPCA Oval
Singapore won the toss and elected to field
China: 28 all out off 23 overs (V.Mehta 7-8)
Singapore: 32 for 2 off 6.5 overs
Player of the Match: Vinit Chittesh Mehta (Singapore)


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Filed July 3rd, 2019