Maldives win ACC Trophy Challenge
Saudi Arabia were the favourites for this tournament as it got underway, and with the Maldives having never won an international tournament before, they were still heavy favourites as the final of the ACC Trophy Challenge started this morning in Bangkok.
Saudi Arabia captain Shoaib Ali won the toss and chose to bat first. The batsmen struggled against some good bowling from the Maldives, and the skipper and Faiq Habib, with 39 and 35 respectively, were the only players to get starts and the Saudis were bowled out for 139, Ahmed Afzal Faiz taking 3-13.
The Maldives were struggling just as much in reply though, with only Abdulla Shahid, who opened with 30 from 23 balls, looking in any sort of nick with the bat. They were reduced to 98-8 after Shoaib Ali took 5-25 before they began to grind out a victory, scoring slowly and steadily.
Ismail Nihad batted 61 balls for his unbeaten 18, sharing in a ninth wicket partnership of 23 with Hassan Rasheed (9 from 30), and taking the Maldives to victory with a last wicket partnership of 19 with Hushab Ibrahim. It was Ibrahim who hit the winning runs, giving his team a one wicket victory.
In the other match of the day, Qatar beat Thailand by 116 runs in the third place play-off. Qatar were dismissed for 223, Umar Taj top scoring with 52. Ryan Raina scored an unbeaten 59 for Thailand, but only one other batsman made double figures and they were all out for 107, Mohammad Rizlan taking 4-25.