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Kalhan Challu and Bahrain’s Sajjad Khan Take the Honours on Opening Day

Kalhan Challu and Bahrain’s Sajjad Khan Take the Honours on Opening Day
Kalhan Challu and Bahrain’s Sajjad Khan Take the Honours on Opening Day

The first day of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup Div. 2 - Asia saw some entertaining cricket played even though both Group A matches in Bangkok were reduced in length by the effects of overnight rain.

The two outstanding individual performances came in Group B matches held in Chiang Mai where Kalhan Challu of Hong Kong scored the first century of the competition against China and Sajjad Khan of Bahrain ended the match against Maldives in style with his fifth wicket, all of which were bowled.

These two fantastic individual performances helped Hong Kong defeat China by 182 runs at Prem, and Bahrain beat Maldives by 14 runs in a thrilling contest at Gymkhana. In Bangkok, Saudi Arabia beat hosts Thailand by 51 runs in a low-scoring encounter at TCG, and Oman overwhelmed Bhutan by eight wickets after bowling them out for 48.

The most exciting match of the day came at Gymkhana Club in Chiang Mai where Bahrain were pushed all the way by Maldives. Bahrain looked on course for a big total while captain Jagan Vijaykumar was at the crease as he compiled a composed fifty and George Axtell helped him add 64 for the fourth wicket. Maldives’ bowlers were able to claim the last seven wickets for just 50 runs and Bahrain were dismissed for 173 in 44.3 overs. Jagan top scored with 60 from 85 balls while Ali Ivan took 3 for 14 for Maldives.

Maldives’ reply set off at a fast pace as the openers added 31 inside three overs helped by a pair of early sixes and a large number of wides. Left-arm seamer Sajjad Khan brought an end to the opening partnership with his first wicket and quickly followed with another wicket as Maldives were suddenly struggling on 48 for 4 in eight overs.

Maldives fought back well as opener Mafaaz Hussain made 31 before the fifth wicket fell on 84 but Ahmed Raid carried on the resistance, also making 31, even though Sajjad kept making inroads. Ibrahim Sadhoof retired hurt but somehow number 10 batsman Rauf Rahil kept the chase going as he top scored with 32.

The injured man returned to the crease but it was left to Sajjad Khan to take the final wicket in his last over and Maldives were dismissed for 159. Sajjad hit the stumps for the fifth time and charged off the field with his arms spread wide in absolute delight. Bahrain had held on to win by 14 runs and there was no doubt that Sajjad was man of the match as he clutched the ball as a souvenir of his fantastic day.

Hong Kong made the highest total of the day as they reached 249 at Prem as their opener Kalhan Challu made an elegant century. He was finally dismissed for 109 from 109 balls with 14 fours and a six but his team could not bat out the 50 overs as China gave a wholehearted performance in the field. Tearaway fast bowler Wang Zihau claimed excellent figures of 4 for 23 as Hong Kong lost their last five wickets for just 12 runs.

China could make only 67 in 23 overs as their opener Gao Guohao was the only man to reach double figures. Opening bowlers Nasrulla Rana and Vikas Sharma took three wickets apiece as Hong Kong enjoyed an emphatic victory by 182 runs.

Meanwhile in Bangkok, both matches were reduced-over affairs as heavy overnight rain resulted in delayed starts at both grounds. Thailand and Saudi Arabia got underway at TCG at 1.30 pm in a 28-over aside contest and the hosts had high hopes of victory when they dismissed the Saudis for 104.

Nawazish Jezuli made 35 but the last six wickets were taken for 27 as Salawut Maliwan claimed 3 for 19. Thailand’s reply started steadily but the hosts collapsed from 38 for two to 53 all out in 18 overs as three Saudi bowlers took two wickets apiece to give their side victory by 51 runs.

The final match of the day which saw Oman take on Bhutan at AIT started at 2.00 pm and was reduced to 26 overs aside. Bhutan were demolished for 48 in 19.3 overs as KS Kattokaran returned outstanding figures of 4 for 5. Oman reached their target of 49 in 11.4 overs to win comfortably by eight wickets.

Four more matches in the ICC U19 CWC Div.2 - Asia will take place on Monday in Bangkok and Chiang Mai when Kuwait and Qatar will play their first matches. Ten teams are competing to win two places in the Division 1 competition that will be played in Malaysia in April 2019.

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