RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s national cricket team comprehensively defeated Myanmar by 327 runs in their last group match of the 2023 ACC Men’s Challenger Cup played at the Terdthai Cricket Ground, Bangkok on Wednesday.
The result means the team from the Kingdom maintained a perfect record of three wins from three matches in Group B to reach the semifinal of the eight-team tournament.
“Saudi Arabia dominates Myanmar with a massive 327-run victory in the #ACCChallengercup, qualifying for the semifinals in style! Congratulations to the team on their remarkable performance!” tweeted the Asian Cricket Council.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation tweeted: “The Saudi national cricket team beats Myanmar in group ‘B’ and qualifies for the Semi-Final facing Bhutan on the 3rd of March in the ACC Men’s Challenger Cup.”
Earlier, Saudi Arabia had won the toss and elected to bat first. They proceeded to up a massive total of 424 runs on the board in 50 overs — for the loss of seven wickets — thanks to a dominant performance by man of the match, Abdul Manan Ali.
Ali, in his debut match, put on sensational innings that saw him score 102 runs off just 80 deliveries, including 11 boundaries and two sixes. Saudi’s mammoth total was always going to be too much for their opponents.
Speaking after the match, Ali said: “I just played my natural game. Thanks to our coach Mohammed Kabir Khan and the Saudi Cricket Federation for supporting us…and encouraging (us) to excel in the game.”
All-rounder Zain Ul Abidin was another star performer, who remained not out on 66 from 34 balls and also took two wickets in his four-over spell.
Other top scorers from the Saudi side were Abdul Wahid, who scored 61 runs from just 36 balls, Mohammed Hisham Sheikh who scored 59 from 62 balls, and Saad Khan who scored a quick 36 runs from just 14 balls.
The Myanmar bowlers struggled throughout the inning to stop the Saudi team but rarely troubled the order.
Chasing the massive total, the Myanmar batting lineup collapsed and bowled all out in 25.3 overs for just 97 runs. Ye Naing Tunb scored high for his team with 29 runs in 31 balls.
KoKo LinThu was another batsman who reached a double-digit score, 17 in 21 balls. No other Myanmar batsman reached double figures.
Abdul Waheed-Baladraf was the best bowler from the Saudi side, taking four wickets in 8.3 overs and conceding just 30 runs in his impressive spell.
The tournament, which runs until Sunday, March 5, is played in a round-robin format with eight teams split into two groups of four. The top two from each group qualify to the semifinals in the knockout stages.
The 2023 ACC Men’s Challenger Cup is the inaugural edition of the Men’s Challenger Cup, with the matches to be played in List A Cricket (50 overs) format.
The competition acts as a pathway to September’s 2023 Asia Cup in Pakistan, which itself is a preparatory tournament for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India starting in October.