Day 4: Lamichhane Claims A World Record But It Is Singapore Who Head Towards Asia Cup
The fourth day of the ACC Eastern Division T20 played at TCG in Bangkok saw Thailand face Nepal in the morning match and Hong Kong take on Singapore in the afternoon. Sandeep Lamichanne tied Thailand in knots with 17 consecutive scoreless balls and became the first man ever to bowl 22 dots in T20 Internationals, but by the end of the day it was Singapore who had joined UAE and Kuwait in the final qualifying competition for the next Asia Cup after beating Hong Kong by 16 runs.
Thailand chose to bat first against Nepal and they did not have long to wait to face the spin of Sandeep Lamichhane who had decimated their batting in the ICC T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier in Malaysia the last time the teams met. Daniel Jacobs carefully played out a maiden, but Naveed Pathan, promoted to open the innings, hit two boundaries off Karan KC in the second over before being caught at third man by with the score on nine for one. Jacobs faced three more dots from Paras Khadka and attempted a single off the next ball to be run out as Dipendra Airee picked up cleanly and threw to the bowler.
Lamichhane changed ends and bowled another maiden in the fourth over and delivered a sequence of 17 consecutive dot balls before he conceded a wide. Thailand had made 13 for 2 at the end of the powerplay and Lamichhane’s figures were 3-2-1-0.
Karan KC returned and was also hard to get away and he claimed two wickets as he bowled left-handers Wanchana Uisuk and Bobby Raina. Left-arm spinner Bhuban Karki supported him well and Thailand had limped to 25 for 4 after 10 overs. Henno Jordaan finally gave something to raise Thailand’s spirits as he hit Bohara for six over mid-on but it had been a struggle for the home team. Karki had bowled well and deserved his wicket in his last over as he bowled Jordaan for 13. Thailand were 39 for 5 as Karki finished with figures of 4-1-6-1.
Sandeep Lamichhane came back having only conceded one run from his three overs, knowing that he had a chance of bowling the most economical four over spell in T20 Internationals. A two off the first ball of his fourth over and a wide that went to the boundary put paid to that world record, but he took the wicket of Ziaul Hoque and in so doing bowled the 22nd dot ball of his spell which is the most ever bowled in T20Is beating the previous best of 21 shared by five bowlers. His final analysis was 4-2-9-1 and Karan KC finished with figures of 3 for 12. Thailand at least completed their 20 overs although their tenth wicket fell to a run out from the last ball. Extras were top score on 17 but wicket-keeper Piriyapong Suanchuai was unbeaten on 13 and hit a six in the last over to take the total to 66.
Nepal were well on course for their first victory of the competition and they were looking to reach their target of 67 as quickly as possible so that they could improve their net run-rate and still have a chance of finishing in the top two places if Hong Kong beat Singapore in the afternoon. Paras Khadka was promoted to open but was stumped off Nopphon Senamntree for nine off five balls with two fours, but opening partner 15 year-old Kushal Malla was unbeaten on 36 from 18 balls and hit five fours and two sixes to show off his rich potential. Pawan Sarraf came in at number three and was even more brutal as he hit 27 from 10 balls with two fours and three sixes.
Nepal reached their target in 7.3 overs to record a crushing victory by nine wickets with 12.3 overs left unbowled. Karan KC was named man of the match for his figures of 3 for 12 as he worked up a good pace and Sandeep Lamichhane was delighted to reflect on becoming the first man to bowl 22 dots in T20 Internationals and he would do his best to bowl the perfect 24 next time.
Thailand could now reflect on a sequence of four defeats against four much stronger international teams. The pain of being outclassed this will pass and the Thailand team now know how much work needs to be done if they can become competitive against the leading sides in Associate cricket. There will be plenty of other opportunities to make progress, at least in 20-over cricket.
One of the most anticipated contests of the tournament saw Singapore take on Hong Kong in the afternoon match. Not only did both teams have records of two wins from their two matches, but they had both taken part in the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier held in UAE late last year. Neither team had qualified for the tournament held in Australia at the end of the year with Hong Kong missing out when one win away from making it, but both now have a chance to reach the Asia Cup as the top two teams in this competition will take part in the next stage of qualifying alongside UAE and Kuwait who have already qualified from the Western Region competition recently held in Oman.
Singapore won the toss and elected to bat hoping no doubt to repeat the fireworks of the previous day when an opening partnership of 96 laid the perfect platform for Tim David to hit 92* from 32 balls as Singapore made 239 for 3 against Malaysia.
Openers Sidhant Singh and Surendran Chandramohan started where they left off against Malaysia as they both hit boundaries as Singapore scored 11 from the opening and they hit another boundary each in the second over that brought 12 more runs. These two were matching each other stroke for stroke as Chandramohan hit two more fours off Aizaz Khan and Sidhant Singh hit off-spinner Ehsan Khan through the covers, but it was too good to last as Sidhant was bowled for 17 from nine balls.
David came in at 37 for 1 in the fourth over and hit his first ball for four although he was close to being lbw at the end of an eventful over. David brought the fifty up in the fifth over and Hong Kong were just keeping the Singapore batsmen under control so the score was 59 for 1 at the end of the powerplay.
It was a case of 77 bowling to 77 as Haroon Arshad, a T20 bowler with a host of variations, bowled to Tim David a typical T20 batsman who just wanted to tee off against every ball. The bowler took the honours with an over than cost only three runs. Off-spinner Ehsan Khan was also bowling well, although David was able to show off his reverse sweep and he greeted left-arm spinner Aftab Hussain with a violent pull through mid-wicket. A spell of four overs for 27 and a wicket was a good effort for the Ehsan Khan and Singapore were 83 for 1 after 10 overs.
Aftab Hussain has also bowled well in the tournament and he claimed the second wicket as Chandramohan was bowled for 32 from 29 balls and he followed up by dismissing Rohan first ball for nought as he was caught at short third man. The complexion of the match had changed and Singapore where now 83 for 3.
Singapore reached the hundred mark and David then hit Waqas Barkat over mid-wicket for six. Hong Kong would have been pleased how well they were restricting David and wicket-keeper Manpreet Singh as Aftab Hussain finished with an excellent spell of 2 for 23 in his four overs. With five overs left Singapore were 115 for 3.
Tim David had been able to show off his power hitting against Malaysia but today he had to play a different role by making sure he remained at the crease for the majority of the innings as well as playing the occasional improvised shot. He reached his fifty from 40 balls rather than 17 and hit only 5 fours and a six, yet he was still ready to scoop the next ball from opening bowler Aizaz Khan for six. Back came the end of innings specialist Haroon Arshad and only five singles came from the 17th over.
Manpreet Singh had been playing a supporting role but hit boundaries from the first two balls of the 18th over but David’s patience finally ran out later in the over and he was bowled by Aizaz Khan for 58 from 40 balls. Singapore were 140 for 4 with two overs left. Nobody had mastered Haroon Arshad in the death overs so far in the tournament but Manpreet showed he could be tamed with three fours and a six from the 19th over, and it was left to left-arm spinner Kinchit Shah to bowl the last over. He conceded nine runs and Manpreet Singh may have played the decisive innings of 42 from 29 balls with 5 fours and a six as Singapore posted a total of 168 for 5.
Their total was the second highest of the tournament so Singapore would have been happy to have such a score on the board. Shahid Wasif drove the first ball of the innings for four and Nizakat Khan followed with two boundaries in the second over, so Tim David was called upon to bowl his off-spin. Shahid hit the first six of the innings but he was then caught at fine leg as he played the sweep shot. Nizakat followed soon afterwards as he was caught at deep mid-wicket to leave Hong Kong on 34 for 2 in the fourth over. Jamie Atkinson and Kinchit Shah were looking to build a partnership as Hong Kong had reached 46 for 2 at the end of the powerplay.
Atkinson is an old warhorse of Hong Kong cricket, a former captain returning to the team with plenty of experience from a spell in county cricket, while Kinchit Shah is a wristy player able to play some quality sweeps and drives. Hong Kong were keeping up with the required rate but Kinchit was bowled by leg-spinner Ananta Krishna as Singapore claimed the third wicket with the score on 73. Waqas Khan joined Atkinson and hit his first ball for six but Anantha was spinning his leg-breaks and beating the bat. Hong Kong were 80 for 3 after 10 overs with 89 runs still needed.
Captain Amjad Mahboob brought himself on and conceded just four singles and Anantha was causing problems with some sharp turn, and Waqas Khan was fourth out as he was stumped by Manpreet Singh. A lot depended on Atkinson and he looked up for the challenge as he crashed Janak Prakash for two boundaries and Hong Kong reached the hundred mark in the 14th over. Hong Kong were 107 for 4 after 15 overs with 62 needed from 30 balls.
Anantha Krishna had finished a splendid spell of leg-breaks as he claimed two wickets for 26 and pace on the ball might give Hong Kong of scoring at more than 12 runs an over. Aizaz Khan was only able to pick out long off as Hong Kong lost their fifth wicket. New man Haroon Arshad and Atkinson both hit boundaries later in the over but left-arm spinner Achar was harder to hit. Atkinson reached his fifty from 43 balls but Haroon was sixth out as he was bowled, and Hong Kong’s last hope seemed to have gone when Atkinson was caught at long-on for exactly 50. Hong Kong were 120 for seven with three overs left and Achar had taken two wickets in his final over.
Scott McKechnie and Ehsan Khan gave a final flourish to the innings as Hong Kong reached 152 for 8 in their 20 overs. It was not quite enough as Singapore held on to win by 16 runs to make it three wins out of three. Wicket-keeper Manpreet Singh was named man of the math for his innings of 42* from 29 balls.
Now on six points in the table and with Malaysia and Hong Kong facing each other on Friday Singapore are now guaranteed a place in the Asia Cup Qualifier in Malaysia in August. Singapore now face Nepal in their last match while it will be Hong Kong or Malaysia who will be the fourth team in the next round depending on the result of the final match of the competition.
ACC MEN’S EASTERN REGION 2020
Thailand v Nepal at TCG
NEPAL WON BY NINE WICKETS
Thailand won the toss and chose to bat
Thailand: 66 all out off 20 overs (Karan.KC 3-12)
Nepal: 72 for 1 off 5.3 overs (K.Malla 36*)
Man of the Match: Karan KC (Nepal)
Singapore v Hong Kong at TCG
SINGAPORE WON BY 16 RUNS
Singapore won the toss and chose to bat
Singapore: 168 for 5 off 20 overs (S.Chandramohan 32, T.David 58, M.Singh 42*)
Hong Kong: 152 for 8 off 20 overs (J.Atkinson 50)
Man of the Match: Manpreet Singh (Singapore)