UAE, OMAN SECURE SUCCESSIVE WINS
The United Arab Emirates stamped their mark on the ACC Asia Cup Qualifier in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday with a commanding 78-run win over Nepal.
Oman also secured a second win in succession after edging a close contest with Malaysia by two wickets while Hong Kong returned to contention for the final with a five-wicket win over Singapore.
After two days of action, UAE and Oman each have four points, followed by Hong Kong and Malaysia with two points each while Nepal and Singapore have yet to get off the mark.
A day after scoring a century against Singapore in UAE's 215-run win, Chirag Suri led the attack with 65 runs featuring seven fours and a six as UAE reached 254-9 off 50 overs.
Adnan Mufti weighed in with an unbeaten 57 while Ashfaq Ahmed scored 45 as UAE freely plundered runs at the Kinrara Oval despite Sandeep Lamichhane taking four for 24 for Nepal.
Man-of-the-match Ahmed Raza then took the key wickets of Paras Khadka
(16) and Sagar Pun (3) to leave Nepal in trouble at 43-3 en route to figures of four for 37.
Subash Khakurel (50) and Dipendra Singh Airee (40) tried to revive Nepal but the former's exit prompted the loss of two quick wickets from which Nepal never recovered as they collapsed to 176 all out with seven balls remaining.
Malaysia very nearly repeated their first-day heroics over Hong Kong when they faced Oman at the UKM Oval but lost agonisingly by two wickets with four balls remaining.
Ajay Lalcheta saw Oman home with an unbeaten 44 to reach 199-8 after Malaysia had posted 198-8 in 50 overs.
Despite seeing Anwar Rahman (3-36) take the wickets of his partners Mohammad Nadeem, Naseem Khushi and Fayyaz Butt, Lalcheta displayed a steady hand in facing 58 deliveries and hitting four boundaries to ensure Oman stayed unbeaten.
Earlier, Virandeep Singh bailed the hosts out with an unbeaten 74 off
110 balls after Malaysia slipped to 39-3.
He built a productive 52-run partnership with Suharril Fetri Shuib (23) and despite tail-ender Anwar adding 25 runs, Malaysia fell a few runs short of setting a winning target.
The match this time marked a far more competitive affair than Oman's 131-run win over Malaysia in the 2017 World Cricket League Division 3 in Uganda when the two teams last met.
Hong Kong recovered from their shock defeat to Malaysia on Wednesday to beat Singapore by five wickets at the Bayuemas Oval in Klang.
Nadeem Ahmad plundered four wickets for 30 runs as Singapore were bolwed out fo 150 in 41.2 overs before Kinchit Shah hit an unbeaten 47 to lead Hong Kong to 154-5 in 34.2 overs.
Singapore were early trouble when they lost four wickets in the space of
18 balls for the addition of two runs to be struggling at 25-4.
Abhiraj Singh (42) steadied the innings in a 50-run partnership with Aryaman Sunil (28) before Nadeem returned to clear the lower order.
Hong Kong made a rocky start when they lost Cameron McAuslan and Anshuman Rath with just seven runs on the board from 12 balls but Babar Hayat (26) and Nizakat Khan (36) came on to set Hong Kong on their way with a 61-run partnership.