All to play for after Qatar deny Saudi Arabia
The fifth day of the ICC U19 CWC Div. 2 - Asia saw Saudi Arabia facing Qatar at AIT in Bangkok knowing that victory would guarantee them a place in the semi-finals from Group A.
Kuwait were also hoping to confirm their place in the last four as they faced China in Group B at Prem in Chiang Mai.
But Qatar denied Saudi Arabia their place in the semis as they beat them by seven wickets. Kuwait will also have to wait to book their place as their contest against China was abandoned without a ball bowled.
Saudi Arabiaís captain Nawazish Jezul was happy to bat first on winning the toss but his team lost a wicket in the first over as Abdullah Riaz was bowled by Bismullah Khan for nought. The Saudi batsmen struggled for runs early on against some accurate bowling as they had only reached 24 in the 16th over when the captain came to the crease at the loss of the third wicket.
Nawazish Jezul did his best to increase the tempo of the innings as he scored 20 from 47 balls with two boundaries in a partnership of 37 in 13 overs with Osama Ahmed who seemed intent only on staying in. He had come to the crease in the first over but had only made 25 from 107 balls when he was out in the 42nd over with his side on 92 for 6.
Ahmed Baladraf was finally able to find the boundary with regularity as he hit five fours in a lively innings of 32 in 43 balls. 37 runs came from 27 balls when he was batting with the last three in the order and even though Baladraf was last out with 10 balls of the innings unused a total of 131 was better than had looked likely. and Saudi Arabia would have been confident of defending their score.
Qatar gave away more runs at the end of the innings than they would have liked but spinners Samil Sadiq and Shubh Agarwal were excellent as they returned figures of 3/20 and 2/23 respectively. Fateen Halim took the last wicket with his medium pace and finished with 3 for 34.
Saudi Arabia could have claimed a place in the semi-finals if they had won, but Qatar could overtake them in the table if they win today and beat Bhutan in the final round of matches tomorrow.
ICC U19 CWC Asia Qualifier Division 2: Qatar wicket-keeper takes a sharp catch
Saudi Arabia had made the highest total of the tournament so far in matches played in Bangkok so it looked as though Qatar would have a difficult job on their hands. Openers Solaiman Mohammad and Hussain Khan looked to take advantage of the new ball attack when batting might be at its easiest and made an extremely positive start against the Saudi fast bowlers.
24 runs came off the first five overs and the openers were also able to score against the left-arm spin of Ahmed Baladraf. It was only when leg-spinner Osama Ahmed came onto bowl the ninth over that the breakthrough came when Hussain Khan was lbw for 16 with the score already on 49.
Qatar continued to bat well but Solaiman Mohammadís innings came to an end on 33 from 46 balls when he fell to the leg-spin of Saud with the score on 80 for two after 20 overs. Osama Ahmed took his second wicket two balls later so Qatar were now three wickets down with two new batsmen at the crease.
It looked as if Saudi Arabia had come back into the match but Qatar continued to bat with positive intent and reached 94 for 3 after 25 overs. Syed Tameem and Shubh Agarwal took the score past the hundred mark in the 27th over and Qatar looked well on the way to victory.
Qatar were 106 for 3 after 30 overs with only 26 more runs needed with 20 overs left. Saud finished his spell with figures of 10-3-22-1 and the other wicket-taker Osama Ahmed only had one over left, so Qatar looked to be on course for the win that would give them a good chance of reaching the semi-finals.
ICC U19 CWC Asia Qualifier Division 2: Great take from the Saudi Arabia wicketkeeper
Osama bowled his final over but Shubh Agarwal was able to play out a maiden as Osama returned figures of 10-3-27-2 with Qatar on the brink of a wonderful victory.
Scores were level after 38 overs and the winning run came from a wide bowled by Muhammad Taha. Qatar won by seven wickets with 12 overs to spare thanks to an impressive batting performance and in particular the unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 51 from Syed Tameem and Shubh Agarwal. Tameem made 27* from 54 balls and Agarwal 21* from 53 as Qatarís top five made a difficult chase look comfortable.
The match between Kuwait and China due to be played in Group B at the David Buck Cricket Oval at Prem in Chiang Mai was abandoned without a ball bowled as heavy overnight rain had left puddles on the outfield and showed no signs of stopping an hour after the scheduled start.
With one round of matches to go, only Oman are certain of a semi-final place, and it will be Qatar that will join them from Group A if they can beat Bhutan, but Saudi Arabia will progress if Qatar should lose. In Group B three teams, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Bahrain are competing for two places with Bahrain facing Kuwait at Gymkhana and Hong Kong playing Maldives at Prem.