Maldives and Saudi Arabia through to final
The ACC Trophy Challenge reached the semi-final stage today in Bangkok, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia looking to extend their unbeaten run and reach the final.
Qatar were up against the Maldives, an improving team who have recently begun to rely on more than just the experienced Moosa Kaleem. He played an important role in their innings today as they batted first, scoring 43, but he was outscored by Abdulla Shahid, who made 77 in the Maldives total of 210.
That should have been a relatively easy target, but Qatar's two run chases in this tournament were in low scoring matches against Thailand and Myanmar, and this target proved beyond them. Only two of their players reached double figures as they were bowled out for 88. Abdulla Shahid completed a fine all-round performance by taking 3-16.
In the other semi-final, the hosts came up against Saudi Arabia. The visitors were batting first, and their innings of 223-9 was built around a well paced 103 from Afzal Mohammad. Noppon Senamontree was the pick of the Thai bowlers with 3-38.
In reply, Thailand's batsmen struggled to get started, and were bowled out for 158, losing by 65 runs. The wickets were shared around the Saudi bowlers.
The final and 3rd place play-off will take place on Saturday, with tomorrow's games being the fifth place play-off between China and Iran and the seventh place play-off between Brunei and Myanmar.
There are bigger prizes for Saudi Arabia and the Maldives than just a place in the final though. Both teams will be promoted to the next ACC Trophy Elite, whilst they will also now play in next year's ACC Twenty20 Cup, from which three teams will qualify for the global qualifier for the 2012 World Twenty20.