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Saudi Arabia have caused the first surprise of the ACC Twenty20 Cup by beating Hong Kong by one wicket in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The veteran Roy Lamsam top scored for Hong Kong - who batted first - with 53, propelling the ACC Trophy Elite champions to 132 for 6 from their 20 overs. The Allrounder Shoaib Ali, who earlier had taken 2 for 29 in the Hong Kong innings, led the reply for Saudi Arabia with 29 to pick up the Man-of-the-Match award. Hussain Anwar (21) chipped in for Saudi Arabia as they got home with four balls to spare.
Malaysia cruised to victory against Nepal, overtaking a target of 113 with six wickets and 20 balls to spare. Only Mehboob Alam (31) and Gyendra Mulla (22) caused Malaysia any concern thanks to tight bowling from Muthuraman Sockalingham (2 for 17 from four overs) and Suresh Navaratnam (0 for 17 from four overs).
The long-term opener Rakesh Madhavan (30 from 31 balls) ensured the Malaysians' chase began briskly, hitting six fours and a six. Middle-order batsman Mohammad Faiz continued the tone of the innings, hitting 40 off 34 balls, including two fours and a six.
In other matches, the United Arab Emirates batsman Amjad Javed hit the event's first century as the hosts beat Singapore by 62 runs. Amjad smashed 115 to help the UAE rattle up 219 for 5. Javed clouted 11 fours and eight sixes in his 58-ball onslaught to deservedly win the Man-of-the-Match award.
Zeeshan Ahmed was almost as easy a choice for Man of the Match in Oman's 108-run win over Bahrain in Abu Dhabi. Ahmed belted a six and seven fours in a 35-ball 55 as all of Oman's batsmen scored freely. Of the Bahrain bowlers, only Halal Abbasi and Sarfraz Ahmed (2 for 43) seemed to have any impact on Oman.
Ahmed took a couple of timely wickets to stall Bahrain's reply and leave him with 2 for 22 from four overs. Bahrain's best batsman was Aamar Shahzad (43 not out in 47 balls) but he did not receive enough support.
China has confirmed its status as the Asian Games cricket organiser's worst nightmare following its nine-wicket loss to Afghanistan in Sharjah. Making its international Twenty20 debut, China survived 17.5 overs against the Afghan attack to manage 37, of which extras contributed 13. Song Yang Wang and Ai Di both top scored with seven. The fast bowler Hamid Hassan nabbed four wickets for Afghanistan, all bowled.
There was an early hiccup in Afghanistan's innings when Noor Ali was caught behind by Ai Di for a third ball duck. Karim Sadiq settled things down for thereafter, striking 26 off 12 deliveries to guide his team home with 16 overs to spare.
United Arab Emirates beat Singapore by 62 runs
UAE 219 for 5 (20 overs) (Muhammad Iqbal 67, Amjad Javed 115; Pramodh Raja 2 for 21) Singapore 157 (19.5 overs) (B Mendis 52, C Ruwan 32; Fayyaz Ahmed 3 for 48, Mohamed Tauqir 2 for 26, Khurram Khan 2 for 15, Ahmed Raza 2 for 19)
Saudi Arabia beat Hong Kong by 1 wicket
Hong Kong 132 for 6 (20 overs) (R Lamsam 53, Irfan Ahmed 28; Hammad Saeed 2 for 19, Shoaib Ali 2 for 29
Saudi Arabia 135 for 9 (19.3 overs) (Shoaib Ali 29, Hussain Anwar 21; Nadeem Ahmed 2 for 25, Irfan Ahmed 2 for 24, Moner Ahmed 2 for 28)
Afghanistan beat China by 9 wickets
China 37 (17.5 overs) (Shahpoor Zadran 2 for 11, Hamid Hassan 4 for 5, Mohammad Nabi 2 for 2)
Afghanistan 40 for 1 (4 overs)
Oman beat Bahrain by 108 runs
Oman 219 for 5 (20 overs) (Ghazanfar Iqbal 34, Zeeshan Ahmed 55, Adnan Iyas 34; Sarfraz Ahned 2 for 43)
Bahrain 111 for 7 (20 overs (Aamar Shahzad 43*; Zeeshan Ahmed 2 for 43)
Malaysia beat Nepal by 6 wickets
Nepal 112 (20 overs)
Malaysia 113-4 (17.4 overs)
Kuwait beat Qatar by 65 runs
Kuwait 195-5 (20 overs)
Qatar 130 (17.5 overs)
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Senior sub-editor While teachers in high school droned on about Fukuyama and communism, young Jamie's mind tended to wander to Old Trafford and the MCG. Subsequently, having spent six years in the States - studying Political Science, then working for an insurance company - and having failed miserably at winning any cricket converts, he moved back to India. No such problem in Bangalore, where he can endlessly pontificate on a chinaman who turned it around with a flipper, and why Ricky Ponting is such a good hooker. These days he divides his time between playing office cricket and constant replenishments at one of the city's many pubs.