Malaysia and Hong Kong off to winning start
After the women's tournament ended on Friday with gold for Pakistan, silver for Bangladesh and bronze for Japan, the men's tournament got under way today with hosts China playing Malaysia and Hong Kong taking on Nepal.
In the first match of the day, China captain Wang Lei won the toss and chose to put Malaysia in to bat. It looked to be a great decision when he bowled Safiq Sharif with his third delivery with no runs on the board, but Rakesh Madhavan soon took the game away from the home side.
Playing steadily at first, he provided the spine for the Malaysian innings as four wickets fell before Manrick Singh joined him in the 17th over with the score on 112-5. The pair then put on 42 in the next three overs, Singh smashing four huge sixes, the partnership ending when Madhavan was caught by Wang Diyani from the first ball of the 19th over. He had scored 68 from 58 balls,.
Singh was out three balls later having blasted 36 from just 15 balls. Ariffin Ramly hit the penultimate ball of the innings for six before he too was out from the last ball, Malaysia having made 162-8 from their 20 overs. Li Jian, who took 3-8 from that last over in what was his first over, must have been hinting to his captain that he should be brought on earlier in future.
The target was well beyond China's batsmen, and they opted instead to bat out their overs, as was usually the case at the ACC Twenty20 last year. They did manage to do this, scoring 73-8 from their 20 overs, losing by 89 runs. Malaysia's bowlers shared the wickets around, Suresh Navaratnam being particularly economical with just five runs coming from his four overs.
Despite their loss today, China still make the quarter finals though, as Singapore's withdrawal left just these two teams in this group. They will take on Pakistan tomorrow. Malaysia's quarter final will be on Tuesday, and they will play Bangladesh.
The second match of the day saw Hong Kong choose to bat after winning the toss against Nepal. Their inning started badly, with Najeeb Amar out from the second ball, and Jamie Atkinson out in the second over with just four runs on the board.
Roy Lamsam held firm at one end, but Hong Kong were scoring slowly. When Ilyas Gul was fourth out in the tenth over, they had scored just 47. He was joined at that point by Waqas Barkat, who hit 31 from 30 balls as the pair put on 67 for the fifth wicket before Barkat was out from the second ball of the last over.
Like Malaysia's innings earlier, three wickets fell in the last over, including that of Lamsam, who had scored 47. Amrit Bhattari was the bowler, and he ended with 3-16 from his four overs as Hong Kong made 115-7 from their 20 overs.
The target should have been no problem for Nepal against what wasn't a full strength Hong Kong side. But Nepal struggled against the Hong Kong bowling attack, especially the spinners. Nadeem Ahmed was the pick of the bunch with 3-12 from his four overs as Nepal crawled to 85-9 in their 20 overs, losing by 30 runs.
Nepal will play the Maldives tomorrow, whilst Hong Kong's next match, also against the Maldives, is on Tuesday.