ACC U19 Eastern Region Tournament 2019
Hong Kong 9-172 in 50 overs beat Malaysia 169 all out in 49.1 overs by 3 runs at Kinrara Oval
Bhutan 73 all out in 46 overs lost to Thailand 3-74 in 18.4 overs by 7 wickets at TPCA Oval

One of the most anticipated games of the ACC U19 Eastern Region tournament lived up to its billing as Hong Kong edged Malaysia by three runs at Kinrara Oval on Saturday.

The crucial win means Hong Kong will play Singapore in the semi-final, while hosts Malaysia facing the daunting prospect of a Nepali side sky high in confidence.

Hong Kong won the toss and elected to bat. Nasrulla Rana gave the East Asians another brisk start with 30 runs off 31 balls, but was back in the pavilion by the eighth over. Kalhan Marc Challu and Adit Gorawara build a steady, and unhurried sixty-seven run partnership taking Hong Kong to comfortable 2-107 off 31 overs, a score in excess of 200 looking more than likely.

But in another precipitous collapse, Hong Kong lost seven wickets for sixty-five runs, finishing their innings on a competitive 9-172 off their fifty overs. Malaysia’s trio of spinners Muhammad Amir, Sachinu Hettige, and Vijay Unni took eight of the nine wickets.

After a stuttering Malaysian batting performance against Thailand, the Hong Kong total seemed like an imposing one.

Vikas Sharma tore through Malaysia’s top order to leave them reeling at 4-22 after eight overs. Off-spinner Raunaq Kapur entered the fray to snare three further scalps. It appeared the cat was in the back and there might be an early finish.

After having collapsed spectacularly not once but twice, Vijay Unni and Mohammad Arief Mohd Yusof, showed fight and resolve that few would have expected. The two put on a mammoth eighty-seven runs for the eighth wicket to inch the Malaysians closer. Yusof then shepherded the tail expertly against Hong Kong’s attack only for Nasrulla Rana to bowl Muhammad Afiq and clinch it for Hong Kong. A nail biter in the end, and one both sides will remember for years to come.

Across town, Thailand made light work of Bhutan, bowling the overly defensive Bhutanese for 73 all out, and knocking off the runs in eighteen overs with three wickets down. Opening bowler Thanaphon Yotharat finished with 4-11 off his 10 overs and Thailand’s trio of finger spinners was as miserly as they have been all tournament. Captain Phiriyapong Suanchai steered a potentially tricky chase with an assured 35 runs off 44 balls to ensure that the Thais ended their tournament on a high.

The tournament continues with the semi-finals on Tuesday 8 July.

(Photo: ACC)

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