Cricket: Fancied Singapore seek Elite victory

Cricket: Fancied Singapore seek Elite victory

The national team cannot take any of their opponents lightly when they compete in the Asian Cricket Council's (ACC) Elite League, which starts in three venues in Singapore tomorrow.

Only the winner of the six-nation tournament will qualify for the ACC's top-tier Premier League, which features the continent's best six outfits bar the Test-playing nations. And Singapore will have to take even minnows Maldives seriously as they lost to the Indian Ocean islanders in the ACC Twenty20 Cup in Nepal last year.

The home side are the favourites to win the Elite League, which will be played in the 50-overs format, as they are ranked 27th in the world. Their rivals are ranked far below, with Bahrain 37th, Kuwait 38th and Bhutan 48th, while Maldives and Saudi Arabia do not find a place in the top 50.

"In limited-overs cricket anything can happen, but we have to guard against complacency," said Singapore's new coach Mohammed Salahuddin, 40, who served as an assistant coach with the Bangladesh national team from 2005-11.

"I want our players to play positively. If we bat well and bowl in the good areas, the result will come to us."

Singapore have youngsters - Arjun Mutreja, Archit Goenka, Rezza Gaznavi, Abhiraj Singh and Suresh Appusamy - who are keen to excel on the Asian stage. They also have experienced hands such as batsmen Chetan Suryawanshi, Andre de Lange and Chaminda Ruwan, who can tear apart any attack, and bowlers Amjad Mahboob, Dharmichand Mulewa and captain Saad Khan Janjua, who can demolish any opposition.

"We have to be wary of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait as they have several players born in the sub-continent," said Saad. "They are big hitters and on their day can beat any team. We have specialist batsmen and bowlers who have been given specific targets, and hopefully they will perform to expectations."

Rain could be a factor in the final outcome as showers are expected over the week's duration of the tournament.

In case of weather disruptions, net run rate may be decisive, so Singapore cannot afford to be lax in batting, bowling or fielding.

This article was first published on June 6, 2014.
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