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January 21, 2009
The decision to insert Oman caused raised eyebrows as the conditions looked perfect for batting, and so it proved. Maqsood Hussain, whose 76 runs in the tournament included 72 in boundaries, cracked 14 off six balls and from then on it was one-way traffic.
The key moment came when Adnan Ilyas was dropped when on 8 by the wicketkeeper in the day's third over. He raced to 50 off 38 balls and brought up his hundred off 95, and by the time he was bowled by legspinner Jigme Singye for 113 the game was all but beyond Bhutan. "We were waiting for the mistakes," Bhutan's coach Damber Singh Gurung admitted, "But we made them."
Bhutan did well to keep things under some semblance of control after Ilyas departed, the last 16 overs only producing 107 runs for the loss of six wickets, but the damage had been done.
Oman's bowlers were as tight as their batsmen had been rampant. Bolstered by an attacking field of four slips, Farhan Khan, who was named bowler of the tournament, took 2 for 19 and Hemal Mehta almost took a hat-trick as he finished with 3 for 22.
Opener Kumar Subba set out his stall to bat through the innings, grinding out 40 off 103 deliveries, and at the halfway point Bhutan were 65 for 4. He was eventually beaten for pace by Awal Khan and the victory was completed in the 43rd over.
In the third/fourth place play-off, Thailand, who were widely expected to make the final until their shock defeat by Bhutan, ended on another disappointment as they lost by eight wickets to Maldives. Thailand were skittled for 60 as daft run-outs coupled with Abdulla Shahid, who took 4 for 13 off his ten overs, took their toll. Maldives lost an early wicket but a second-wicket stand of 44 between Ahmed Hussain and Ahmed Hassan ensured there were no more alarms.
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