Dubai, October 02, 2023 (PPI-OT): Saudi hammer Maldives by nine wickets to cement their place at the top of the Asia Sub Regional Qualifier A.
Taking advantage of Qatar’s poor ground cricket, Kuwait bounced back from their Saudi Arabia setback to get past hosts Qatar by five wickets in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Sub Regional Qualifier A on Monday.
At the West End International Stadium, opener Ravija Sandaruwan, who benefited the most from the dropped chances, blasted 71 in 40 balls, setting up the romp with 23 balls to spare.
In another match, Saudi Arabia proved too strong for Maldives. They pulled off a nine-wicket victory, riding a 3 for 14 by Ahmed Baladraf and an unbeaten 46 by opener Faisal Khan. The fourth win cemented their place at the top of the table, while Kuwait are second. The match between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on the last day (October 5) is expected to be de-facto final.
Sandaruwan collected his second fifty in a row and a second Player of the Match performance in the four-team event. Despite knowing the target was not daunting, Sandaruwan kept pressing on the gas. Though he was lucky to have got a few reprieves, he did not relent.
He was involved in a 79-run alliance with Usman Patel and got out at 115 after cracking half a dozen sixes and three boundaries. Later at 129, Qatar captain Muhammad Murad picked two wickets to inject some thrills in an otherwise one-way contest. Patel however sealed the win with a push and fetched two valuable points for his team.
Kuwait captain Mohammed Aslam sounded pleased with his team’s triumph, especially after losing to Saudi Arabia in the last match despite amassing 174.
“Yeah, I’m very glad with today’s positive result and all-around performance of my team. The end was not like as we had wanted and lost a couple of wickets while trying to complete the match as early as possible.
“Anyway, Qatar are a good team and we are definitely pleased that we have cleared a major hurdle now. Still, the tournament is far from over for both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
“Day after we play Maldives and if we win, the clash against Saudi Arabia will be like a final. We are not getting carried away by this. We will not take anybody lightly and try to play as hard as possible so that we are able to finish the Qualifier as the winner,” he added.
Earlier, Qatar, asked to bat first by Kuwait, sank deep into problems, suffering blow after blow. At a stage, they were six down for 71. At one end, Muhammad Tanveer defied the rivals to help the hosts finish with 129 for six. He made a responsible 69 off 52 balls with three sixes and fix boundaries. He and skipper Murad (14 with a six) collected 58 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket.
Saudi stay unbeaten
Saudi Arabia produced another all-round display and outplayed Maldives by nine wickets as Ahmed Baladraf and Faisal Khan excelled. This was the fourth victory in a row for the Saudi team, while Maldives suffered the fourth loss in as many games.
Batting first, Maldives failed to negotiate with the fine bowling from the rivals, especially Baladraf, and collapsed at 76. They lost the first wicket at 17 and their batsmen continued to surrender before they got all out in 18.2 overs.
Apart from Baladraf, Saudi Arabia used five other bowlers – Umair Shariff, Usman Najeeb, Atif Ur Rehman, Zain Ul Abidin and captain Hisham Sheikh, and all of them bagged a scalp each. Kaushal Rodrigo was their lone fighter, getting 26 with two fours.
Saudi Arabia raced past the finish line with Faisal Khan and Manan Ali dealing out lusty blows to the Maldives bowlers. The two openers forged a partnership of 40 runs before Ali was dismissed by Leem Shafeeg for 20 with four boundaries.
Khan remained unbeaten on 46, which came off 25 balls. His cameo included three sixes and as many boundaries. Waqar Ul Hassan was unbeaten on 10 and ensured the win for the team inside eight overs.
Qatar 129 for 6 (Muhammad Tanveer 69, Mohammed Irshad 25; Mohammed Aslam 3/15) lost to Kuwait 130 for 5 in 16.1 overs (Ravija Sandaruwan 71, Usman Patel 27 not out; Muhammad Murad 2/23) by five wickets
Player of the match: Ravija Sandaruwan (Kuwait)
Maldives 76 in 18.2 overs (Kaushal Rodrigo 26; Ahmed Baladraf 3/14) lost to Saudi Arabia 78 for 1 in 7.5 overs (Faisal Khan 46 not out, Manan Ali 20; Leem Shafeeg 1/9)
Player of the match: Faisal Khan (Saudi Arabia)
Tue, Oct 03 – Rest day
Wed, Oct 04, 9th match 9:00 – Maldives vs Kuwait
10th Match 13:30 – Saudi Arabia vs Qatar
For more information, contact:
International Cricket Council (ICC)
Street 69, Dubai Sports City,
Sh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE