UAE reach semi-finals
The hosts of the ACC Trophy Elite, the UAE, ensured their place in the semi-finals today with a big win over Kuwait, who were unable to repeat their heroics from yesterday when they beat the fancied Nepal team.
Put into bat at the Al Dhaid Cricket Village, the UAE started with a 116 opening partnership in just 15 overs between Arshad Ali and Abdul Shakoor. Shakoor was in fine form, smashing 79 from just 46 balls before he was first out.
Another wicket followed two balls later, but the hosts just kept on going, putting on 79 for the third wicket, a partnership that ended when Arshad Ali was trapped lbw for 70. Saqib Ali stayed in to score 78, and there were significant contributions from Rohan Mustafa (60) and Mohammad Azam (51). The final total for the UAE was 353, losing their last wicket in the final over.
The target was always going to be out of reach for Kuwait, and they were bowled out for 212, Irfan Bhatti and Sibtain Raza the only significant contributors with 44 and 40 respectively. Arshad Ali completed a good all-round performance with 3-39.
The other match in Group B saw Nepal look to bounce back after yesterday's surprise defeat to Kuwait with a win over Saudi Arabia at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. They bowled well to dismiss the Saudis for just 131, Basanta Regmi the pick of the bowlers with 3-29.
Nepal lost one wicket in reply, but that brought Gyanendra Malla to the crease, who smashed 61 from just 23 balls to ensure that Nepal scored their runs quickly, winning in just 13.1 overs.
In Group A at Sharjah, Malaysia took on the Maldives, the latter batting first after winning the toss. They were only able to score 146 before they were bowled out, Mohamed Rishwan top scoring with 44. The 16 year old left-arm spinner Anwar Rahman bowled well to take 5-27.
Malaysia had little trouble chasing down their target, winning by 7 wickets in 32.3 overs, Ahmed Faiz top scoring with an unbeaten 66.
The other Group A match was between the already qualified for the semi-final team Afghanistan and Bhutan at the ICC Global Cricket Academy. Bhutan batted first after winning the toss and were bowled out for just 107, Sayed Shirzad taking 5-13.
Afghanistan lost two wickets in reply as they chased down the required runs in 13.2 overs, captain Nawroz Mangal top scoring with an unbeaten 48 from 40 balls.
So Afghanistan and the UAE have now both secured their semi-final spots, and Tuesday's final round of group matches will decided who joins them. Nepal will play Hong Kong at the Global Cricket Academy in what is essentially a knock out match to decide the second group B semi-finalist. The winners will hope to win by a big enough margin to top the group ahead of the UAE in order to avoid Afghanistan in the semi-finals. Kuwait will play Saudi Arabia in the other Group B match.
In Group A, Malaysia will qualify for the semi-finals if they beat Bhutan, as they should. If they don't though, the semi-final place will be decided on net run rate between Malaysia and the winners of the Oman v Maldives contest.