MUSCAT: Making its presence felt on the opening day, Bahrain handed Saudi Arabia a 41-run drubbing, while Kuwait trounced Maldives by 8 wickets as five-nation ACC Western Region T20 tournament kicked off at Oman Cricket’s picturesque twin grounds in Amerat yesterday.
Day Two will see Maldives playing against Bahrain and Qatar facing off against Saudi Arabia.
Saudis won the toss and opted to bowl first in windy conditions. Involved in an opening stand of 62 runs, Bahrain openers Imran Ali Butt and Sarfraz Ali batted beautifully, hitting fours and sixes at will before Sarfraz departed for 30 off 18 balls. Imran (58 off 53) continued the momentum as Bahrain posted a challenging 176 for 4 in 20 overs. Ammad Uddin was the other notable scorer with 28 off 15 balls.
Carrying a promising side into the tournament, Saudis saw their hopes dwindle following a dramatic middle order collapse, reducing it to 55 for 5 in 10 overs from 32 for 1 in 5 overs. Bahrain bowled tightly to ensure there was no recovery and despite some sixes towards the end, Saudis could manage only 135 for 9 in their quota of overs. Malik Muhammed Naeem topscored with a solid 42 off 36. Man of the match Sarfraz Ali bowled well too, taking 2 for 20. Babar Ali and Tahir Dar also bagged two wickets each.
Bahrain captain Adil Hanif was delighted at his team’s victory, hoping his boys will take the momentum into the next game against Qatar.
“We are extremely happy to have won our first game and though we dropped some catches today we do hope to do well in this tournament,” he said.
Rating Qatar highly in the tournament, Hanif said Bahrain was ready to take it on in its next game today.
“We have a pretty balanced side and are looking forward to playing against Qatar tomorrow and make it two-in-two for Bahrain,” he added.
Earlier, Kuwait had an easy outing against Maldives, showing glimpses of a good all-round team in its 8-wicket victory yesterday.
Maldives squandered a good start of 44 for 1 in 5.3 overs, losing wickets at regular intervals that slowed down its scoring rate as well before folding up for 102. Nobody could bat with authority except Rishwan Mohamed who top-scored with a fluent 25 off 23 balls. Imran Ali was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3 for 16 in his 4-over spell while Morshed and Pradeep Wasantha took two wickets each.
Kuwait raced to the target in just 10.3 overs as opener Rajiva De Silva slammed an entertaining 68 off 36, studded with 4 big sixes.
“A victory, big or small, is a victory as it adds to your confidence and boosts morale. We know we have some tough games ahead but we are quite confident of doing even better as we have a good balanced team,” said Kuwait captain Muhammed Amin.
Praising Sajiva for his match-winning knock, Amin said he had expected him to do well.
“Sajiva is one of our best batsmen and we expect him to continue his great form in the rest of the games too. However, our batting runs deep and we are looking forward to some great cricket in such a lovely weather on excellent pitches at these beautiful grounds over here,” he added.
Brief scores: Bahrain 176 for 4 in 20 overs (Imran Ali Butt 58 – 2x4, 3x6, Sarfraz Ali 30 – 4x4, 2x6, Ammad Uddin 28 – 4x4, 1x6) beat Saudi Arabia 135 for 9 in 20 overs (Malik Muhammed Naeem 42 – 3x4, 1x6, Sajid Imran 22 – 3x4. Babar Ali 2-18, Sarfraz Ali 2-20, Tahir Dar 2-31) by 41 runs.
Brief scores: Maldives 102 all out in 18.4 overs (Rishwan Mohamed 25 – 4x4. Imran Ali 3-16, Morshed 2-13, Pradeep Wasantha 2-26) lost to Kuwait 103 for 2 in 10.3 overs (Ravija De Silva 68 – 6x4, 4x6, Muhammed Asghar 22 – 3x4) by 8 wickets.