Kuwait edge final-over thriller
Kuwait 157 for 9 (Javed 42, Stevens 3-10) beat Jersey 156 for 8 (Bisson 54, Gough 52, Akhunzada 3-22, Khalid 3-31) by one wicket
Kuwait defeated Jersey in a final-over thriller at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur in the replay of the rain-abandoned fixture on Sunday. Rain intruded on the second attempt as well, a heavy downfall delaying the start, but the clouds cleared in time for a 39-over match which began at 1.45pm.
After being put in to bat by Kuwait, Jersey's top order struggled and they were three down by the 15th over, Abdullah Akhunzada, Saad Khalid and Mohammed Naseer sharing the spoils. It was then up to captain Peter Gough and Corey Bisson to stabilize the Jersey innings, both men scoring half-centuries.
Bisson departed on 54, run out by wicketkeeper Sharjeel Tahir after being called through for a tight single. Gough anchored the team's innings until the 33rd over when he was caught by Mohammad Amin, while the rest of the Jersey side failed to sparkle with the bat. In contrast, Kuwait's fast bowler Saad and legbreak bowler Akhunzada both had good games, taking three wickets each to leave their side chasing 157 for victory.
Kuwait's batsmen started the chase brightly in the afternoon sunshine, openers Irfan Bhatti and Aamir Javed adding 55 before Bhatti was bowled by Ben Stevens with the final delivery of the 10th over. The innings lost its course thereafter, Jersey chipping away to reduce Kuwait to 128 for 6 in the 28th over.
With Ben Stevens dismissing Mohammad Amin and Akhunzada in the space of an over as Kuwait slipped to 140 for 9, the match built to a thrilling conclusion. No. 11 Azmatullah Nazeer smashed a huge six to bring the target down to six runs off nine balls, adding to that a couple of quick singles to leave the last pair needing four runs off the last over to give Kuwait victory. The winning runs were cracked with just three balls to spare.
"I thought we performed superbly in the field today and Ben Stevens did really well to work his way through the Kuwait batting line-up," said Jersey captain Gough. "Corey Bisson and myself did well batting today, but I know we have the strength in our top order in Sam de la Haye, Dean Morrison and Ben that we will bounce back as a batting unit and perform better tomorrow.
"We really pushed Kuwait and we just need another good day to get ourselves our first win, both of these first two matches have been tight and we've shown we've got the skills we just need to finish these games off with victory now."
"I think as a team we're still getting used to the conditions here in Malaysia and we needed some time to bed into the tournament," added Kuwait coach Basil Jayawardene. "Jersey definitely tested us as a side today but we managed to finish the game and seal the win with three balls to spare."