S'pore's ACC Elite dream alive

S'pore's ACC Elite dream alive
Singapore spinner Abhiraj Singh, who took five wickets for a loss of 42 runs, being congratulated after he dismissed a Kuwait batsman. The Singapore team kept themselves in the race to finish top in the Asian Cricket Council’s Elite League with a 20-run win over Kuwait at Kallang on 8 June 2014.

SINGAPORE - Singapore kept themselves in the race to finish top in the Asian Cricket Council’s Elite League with a 20-run win over Kuwait at Kallang yesterday. But the home side did not appear very convincing as their Gulf rivals largely self-destructed.

From 86-2 in the 12th over, Kuwait, chasing a target of 217 for victory, lost wickets steadily as their batsmen went for their shots to end up on 196 in 38.4 overs. The Singapore bowlers gained the upper hand once they got rid of opener Mohammed Irfan, who slammed 72 off 41 balls.

Spinners Abhiraj Singh, 19, and Dharmichand Mulewa, 30, particularly varied their flight and pace intelligently to dismiss eight Kuwaiti batsmen between themselves. “The key was to put pressure with a tight length as the Kuwaitis mostly like to hit every ball,” said left-arm spinner Abhiraj, who finished with 5-42. “We knew they will give a chance.”

The Singapore fielders dropped four catches – Irfan twice – but they held two brilliantly at the crunch. “Our batsmen are hard-hitters but were handicapped because the wicket wasn’t friendly – the ball did not come nicely on to the bat,” said Kuwait captain Hisham Mirza. “One or two more partnerships would have got us through.”

In the morning, Singapore’s middle-order again failed to fire as, from 121-3, they could add only 95 runs in the last 20 overs to be all out for 216 in 49.4 overs. “Some decisions went against us, otherwise we would have easily scored 250 plus,” said stand-in captain Chetan Suryawanshi.

Chaminda Ruwan, who top-scored with 52, was declared run out when he appeared to have made it to the crease safely, while Suryawanshi, who hit 32, was given out lbw, when the ball seemed to miss the off-stump. Both were well set and could have carried Singapore to a bigger total.

The home side’s task now is to ensure that they do not lose any of their three remaining matches this week and hope that Kuwait beat Saudi Arabia, who are leading the table. The winners of the six-nation tournament could eventually be decided by who among the three have a better net run rate.

It is important that Singapore win their remaining matches by big margins, for only the winners of this tournament, which also includes Bahrain, Maldives and Bhutan, will be promoted to the ACC’s Premier League. 2nd round results ACC Elite League (2nd rd)

Brief scores

Singapore 216 in 49.4 overs (Chaminda Ruwan 52; Hisham Mirza 3-42).

Kuwait 196 in 38.4 overs (Mohammed Irfan 72; Abhiraj Singh 5-42, Dharmichand Mulewa 3-28).

Singapore won by 20 runs.

Bahrain 130 in 47.3 overs. Maldives 131-2 in 39.2 overs.

Maldives won by 8 wkts.

Saudi Arabia 438-4 in 50 overs. Bhutan 138 in 41.5 overs.

Saudi Arabia won by 300 runs.

Points table

Saudi Arabia - Points: 4; Net run rate: +3.484 Maldives - 4; +0.913 Kuwait - 2; +0.600 Singapore - 2; -0.007 Bahrain - 0; -1.178 Bhutan - 0; -4.326

This article was first published on June 9, 2014.
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