UAE, Oman triumph to enter ACC Premier Cup semi-finalsHosts Nepal are already assured of the knockout stage. The winners between Hong Kong and Kuwait will be the final team to secure the last four berth.
The United Arab Emirates and Oman entered into the semi-finals of the ACC Premier Cup after victories in their last group match in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
The UAE registered a thumping eight-wicket win over Bahrain in their last group match at the Mulpani Stadium to book a semi-final ticket from Group ‘B’. The winner between Hong Kong and Kuwait, who will compete on Thursday at Mulpani, will be the other team to join them in the last four from the group.
Oman edged Saudi Arabia by 72 runs at the TU ground in Kirtipur to join hosts Nepal in the semi-final from Group ‘A’. They replaced Nepal, who have a match in hand, from the summit in the group. Nepal, already assured of the semi-final berth with a match in hand, could replace Oman from top of the table if they beat bottom-placed Qatar on Tuesday at the TU ground. Saudi finished fourth on three points and Malaysia third on four points.
Only the team finishing on top two positions at the end of the league round will progress into the semi-final from each group.
The winning outcome puts UAE provisionally on top of the Group ‘B’ standings on six points after playing their all four group games. Bahrain crashed out of the tournament finishing fourth with three points in their account. Hong Kong are second on five points and Kuwait third on four points after three games each. Hong Kong could replace UAE from the top of the table should they beat Kuwait.
Aravind, Mustafa bat UAE to victory
UAE batters Vriitya Aravind and Rohan Mustafa both scored unbeaten half centuries and shared a 99-run unconquered partnership for third wicket as they made 120-2 in 27.4 overs in their run chase after Bahrain opted to bat first and were bowled out for 116 runs in 40.5 overs.
Bahrain captain Haider Butt, who came to bat at number six, and tailender Ali Dawood scored 23 runs each, the joint highest score for the team with the latter remaining unbeaten. Opener Muhammad Younis (16), Adbul Majid (11), Imran Anwar (14) and Waseeq Ahmed (12) were the other batters to touch double digit figures for Bahrain.
UAE spinner Ayan Afzal Khan came up with impressive figures in bowling claiming four wickets. He gave away six runs in his 10-over spell that included seven maiden overs. Rohan Mustafa and Karthik Meiyappan shared two wickets each.
Chasing the target, UAE lost their openers Aryan Lakra on five runs and captain Muhammad Waseen on one run. But Aravind and Mustafa held their nerves playing unbeaten knocks guiding the team to a comfortable win. Aravind hit 62 runs off 84 balls, studded with five hits to the fences and a six. Mustafa cracked 50 runs off 56 that included five boundaries and a six.
Bahrain’s Abdul Majid pocketed UAE’s both wickets.
Top order batters shine for Oman
Five top order batters slammed half centuries each for Oman, who, sent into bat first, posted a challenging total of 366-6 and bowled Saudi Arabia out for 294 runs in 46.5 overs.
Opener Kashyap Prajapati (51 runs off 53) and Jatinder Singh (88 runs off 79) gave a strong start to Oman stitching up a 125-run partnership for the opening wicket before the former was dismissed.
Opener Singh, the highest scorer of the innings, cracked 11 hits to fences and two sixes while Prajapati hit six boundaries and two sixes. Shoaib Khan (68 runs off 70), captain Zeeshan Maqsood (54 runs off 49) and Mohannad Nadeem (not out 71 runs off 38) were other batters to cross the half centuries mark. Nadeem’s quickfire knock included six boundaries and four sixes.
Saudi bowler Atif-Ur-Rehman grabbed three wickets conceding 80 runs in his nine-over spell. Abdul Wahid picked two wickets.
Chasing the target, Saudi opener Abdul Wahid and number three batter Saad Khan scored half centuries for the team but they failed to avert the outcome. Waheed was dismissed on 95 runs off 86 that included 14 hits to the fences and a six. Khan cracked 78 runs off 80 comprising 10 boundaries and a six. Captain Hisham Sheikh (36), Abdul Wahid (25) and Atif-Ur-Rehman (16) were other contributors for Saudi.
Oman’s Bilal Khan pocketed four wickets, Jay Odedra three and captain Maqsood two wickets. Maqsood, who also hit a half century with the bat, was named player-of-the-match.