ACC Trophy Challenge - Day Three
As the group stage of the ACC Trophy Challenge ended today in Thailand, it seems that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the favourites for promotion to the Elite division after they finished the group stage unbeaten.
Saudi Arabia played the Maldives at the Chiang Mai Gymkhana ground, and it was a fantastic all-round performance from Mohammad Afzal that secured them the win. Afzal top scored with an unbeaten 99 in Saudi Arabia's total of 254-7 in a rain reduced 45 over innings. He then took 3-10 and took three catches for good measure as the Maldives were dismissed for 98. Shoaib Ali and Hussain Bhattii also bowled well, both taking 3-9.
Qatar took on hosts Thailand at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok. Qatar have been bowling well in the tournament, and no one would have been surprised when they inserted Thailand and bowled them out for 101, Sajjad Quereshi taking 5-35. Thailand then gave Qatar a scare, reducing them to 50-6 at one point, before Qatar recoved to win by three wickets.
Iran, who had beaten Thailand on day one only to have the result overturned due to fielding ineligible players, were playing Myanmar in Bangkok. Myanmar made 117 when they batted, which was no problem for the Iranians, who didn't lose a wicket in chasing the target in 18.2 overs. Shirmohammad Balouchnezhad led the way for them with 74 from 62 balls.
China, playing against Brunei in Chiang Mai, collapsed to 45-6 in their innings before Zhang Qirui recovered their innings with 37. They were still dismissed for just 115 though, with Jahaber Ali taking an impressive 6-28. The target should have been no trouble for Brunei, but China bowled well to dismiss them for 59, Sun Duo taking 4-14, securing their second international win in the process.
Tomorrow is a rest day in Thailand, and the semi-finals will take place on Thursday. Qatar will play the Maldives, whilst Saudi Arabia will take on Thailand.