Malaysia, Oman and Hong Kong all win easily
There were three easy wins at the ACC Trophy Elite in Kuwait yesterday for Malaysia, Oman and Hong Kong.
Malaysia were taking on Bhutan at Doha. After winning the toss and choosing to bat, they again struggled, scoring just 68 in 28.3 overs. Only two batsmen reached double figures, with 13 wides being the top scorer. Ghulam Mustafa took 4-18 and Sharul Nizam took 3-15.
Needing to knock off their runs quickly to increase their net run rate to give themselves a chance of reaching the semi-finals if they beat the UAE on Tuesday, the openers accomplished their task with some aplomb. Damith Warusavithana smashed 53 from just 21 balls as Malaysia chased the required total in 5.2 overs.
In a match between two teams who have been below their usual standards in this tournament at Hubara, Singapore won the toss and put Hong Kong into bat. Hong Kong were reduced to 118-8 but the last two wickets managed to put on 76, with Moner Ahmed scoring 44. Narender Reddy was the pick of the Singapore bowlers with 4-28.
In reply, Monish Arora scored 52 for Singapore, but nobody managed to stay with him for any length of time and they were bowled out for 149, Nadeem Ahmed taking 5-35.
In the other game of the day, at Unity, hosts Kuwait took on Oman. Kuwait batted first and their innings got off to a flyer with Khalid Butt smashing 55 runs from 44 balls. Muhammad Amin shepherded the tail, enabling Kuwait to score 247 in 49.5 overs. Deep Trivedi was the pick of the bowlers with 4-36.
Oman's reply was perfectly paced. Led by Adnan Ilyas, they picked out the gaps well to start with, scoring ones, twos and a number of threes, before hitting out later on. Kuwait captain Sultan Ahmed struggled to settle down on a pair of bowlers, and for the last 20 overs or so, he was using his bowlers in one over spells. Ilyas finished on an unbeaten 82 as Oman won by 5 wickets.
Today's results mean that we have the first two semi-finalists confirmed, though neither of them was playing today. Nepal have secured their semi-final spot, and Afghanistan are definitely through from group B, as if Malaysia beat the UAE on Tuesday by a big enough margin to reach the semi-finals, the UAE's NRR would drop below that of Afghanistan's. So Afghanistan are through.
We also have it confirmed that Singapore will join Bahrain as being relegated to the Challenge division for 2012. Bhutan will stay up, despite being completely outclassed in all three of their matches in this tournament.
Monday is the first and only rest day in the tournament, and play will resume on Tuesday. The Nepal v Kuwait game is a dead rubber match, but Hong Kong v Oman is essentially a quarter final contest, with the winners joining Nepal as the group A semi-finalist. Covered live on CricketEurope will be Malaysia v the UAE. Malaysia need to win by a big enough margin if they are to join Afghanistan in the semi-finals.