The fifth day’s play in the ICC World Twenty20 Asia ‘B’ Qualifier in Kuala Lumpur saw the first two teams reach the next stage in the qualifying process for the next ICC World Twenty20 that will be held in Australia in 2020.
Both Nepal and Singapore made it four wins out of four as Nepal defeated Bhutan in impressive fashion by scoring 150 for 4 and dismissing their opponents for 33, while Singapore defeated Thailand by eight wickets to book their places in the Asian Final Qualifier that will be held next year.
Thailand’s batsmen may well have been shell shocked after their dramatic collapse against Nepal in the previous match and life was not much easier against Singapore as off-spinner Manpreet Singh claimed four wickets for 14. Payuputh Sungnard stood firm until the 19th over to make 24 from 27 balls and Thailand almost batted out the 20 overs as they posted a total of 79.
Thailand’s left-arm spinners Nopphon Senamontree and Vichanath Singh each took a wicket but Singapore needed only 10.3 overs to score 80 and record victory by eight wickets. Thailand’s coach Nuwan Siroman was philosophical about his team’s performances in the competition in which they had started well with victories over China and Bhutan but then come across a much stronger team in Nepal. Singapore are also a higher ranked team and he was certain that the Thai boys would learn a great deal from their experiences.
Nepal and Singapore are certain of their places in the next stage of qualification in the ICC World Twenty20 and the third place will be filled by either Malaysia or Thailand who now each have five points from five matches. Thailand do still have a chance of further progress as they face Myanmar in their final match on Wednesday while Malaysia will play China on Friday and qualification may lie in the hands of the weather gods.
Hosts Malaysia have the advantage by in Net Run Rate but all could change if rain intervenes. Although the scorecard from yesterday’s match suggests a crushing victory over Myanmar for Malaysia, the match was dominated by the threat or consequences of torrential rain as Myanmar limped to 9 for 8 in 10.1 overs before the deluge and play only just resumed in time for Malaysia to face a revised target of just 6.
Reports suggest the Malaysian players all helped in mopping up the flooded ground and that the pitch was still damp in places when Malaysia took to the crease which contributed to the loss of two wickets in the first over before the hosts eventually claimed victory by eight wickets on the Duckworth Lewis method.
Thailand’s match against Myanmar gets underway at 2.30 pm on Wednesday and the team will be hoping that rain stays away and they can end their campaign with a victory to keep them in with a chance of third place.