Manrick Singh, 36 off 15 balls for Malaysia

The Chinese players say they learn something every match they play. Javed Miandad (Special Adviser to the Chinese Cricket Association, Pakistan’s Ambassador for Cricket to China) who is in Guangzhou to watch the men’s event had plenty to say to them after the game. “Catches win matches” was the twinkling thrust of his talk.

After striking with their third ball, after putting Malaysia in to bat, Shafiq Sharif playing on China looked like a side that could do some damage. The ball was swinging, and Wang Lei was bowling at pace. Had the chance off the fourth ball, Suresh Navaratnam edging a peach of an outswinger low down to the right of China’s wicket-keeper Zhao Gaosheng next ball, been taken, China would have/could have....

China’s Zhang Yufei
And when Rakesh Madhavan survived a chance in the covers before he got off the mark, then it really would have been China’s game. But he wasn’t either . Wang Lei pinned Suresh on the back foot for his second wicket with the score on 28 in the fifth over and was bowlign well, but runs were coming at the other end. China fielded well.

The largest crowd of the tournament so far, was at the Guanggong stadium today, there were long queues to get in until half an hour after the game started. It was all set for a gala day for Chinese cricket which makes it all the more disappointing that the crowd didn’t stay once they realised China were in for a beating.

Rakesh Madhavan played the shot of the day – a walk down the wicket to hit Zhang Qirui over midwicket, but China kept at Malaysia and Qirui knocked back Ahmed Faiz’s middle stump two balls later. Nevertheless, Malaysia were on 69 for 3 after 10.

Rakesh Madhavan admires a stroke which has Sun Dou sprawling to save runs
Rakesh’s 50 came at better than a run a ball, with plenty of spokes in his wagon-wheel. The leg-spin of Sun Dou were effective, but Manrick Singh’s and Rakesh’s hard-hitting sixth-wicket partnership of 42 in 18 balls helped Malaysia past 150, even Wang Lei getting punished at the end as Malaysia finished on 162 for 8 off their 20 overs.

Spin was brought on by early by Malaysia’s captain Suhan Kumar – it was going to be a real test of how far China have advanced because they’ve shown difficulty in coping with it in the past. Nik Arifin struck with his first ball, opener Jiang Shuyao spooning back a return catch.

China were positive in their approach, but the required run rate was climbing all the time. After 10 overs China 37 for 1. And then 56 for 4 after 15 overs as the spinners got to work.

Song Yangyang
China had flashes of excellence, Malaysia had whole patches of exceptionality. China’s wickets fell regularly and though they did well not to be bowled out, in the end they were 89 runs short.

China have become a decent team, last year in Dubai they were absolutely annihilated by the best ACC teams, “they have improved a lot, and their bowling is fast, if they play more matches, they will do better,” said Suhan Kumar, “we had to go to Plan B after we lost the early wickets but we are feeling in good shape for the match against Bangladesh on Tuesday.” China’s captain Wang Lei said of the 3000-strong crowd, “most of them came from the Guangzhou Middle School No.6, During the national tournament this year, our team playd theirs, so we came to know each other. And they came here to support us.” In the kingdom of boys, teenagers are king. In the kingdom of cricket, men will always beat boys. They are teenagers in the main, the Chinese national team. “China will get better the more they play and the more experience they get,” says Javed Miandad.

Malaysia's Suhan Kumar and Rakesh Madhavan

Asian Games 2010

Group C: China v Malaysia
China won the toss and elected to field
Malaysia: 162 for 8 off 20 overs (R.Madhavan 68, M.Singh 36; S.Duo 2-18, L.Jian 3-8)
China: 73 for 8 off 20 overs (N.Arifin 2-15, M.Singh 2-10)

Tournament page

Filed November 21st, 2010