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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 16/12/2013

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Despite a strong fightback, Oman succumbed to a 16-run loss against Singapore in the final of the 2013 ACC U19 Challenge Cup in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday.

Chasing a victory target of 170 in the 50 over-a-side affair after Singapore skipper Varun Sivaram struck a match-shaping 68, the Oman batsmen were dismissed for 153 in 45.2 overs.

Shuaib al Balushi (65) and Taha Hassan (39) made key contributions, but their efforts went in vain as Singapore had the last laugh, having effected an early collapse that made the difference.


Oman's Gayash Dias (right) with the best batsman trophy

Singapore's left-arm spinner and Player-of-the-Tournament Abhiraj Singh (3-11) helped quell Oman's challenge.

Earlier, after Oman sent in Singapore to bat, medium-pacer Waseem al Balushi struck with the new ball and it appeared that Oman may have rightly decided to bowl first.

The Singapore batsmen, however, recovered from the early jolt and looked to build and bat out as many overs as possible after most batting sides fell short of playing out 50 overs in the competition.

Oman's off-spinner and skipper Shreyas Malhotra (2-41) effected a couple of strikes that included dismissing Man-of-the-Match Varun, but by then the latter had put Singapore on course for a competitive total.

Oman's Waseem al Balushi, Hemi Ganatra, Wasim Ali, Akshay Jathar and Ibrahim al Harthy all took a wicket each, while there were three run-outs in the Singapore innings.

Perhaps feeling the pressure of batting second in the final, Oman began disastrously, losing a flurry of wickets to crash to 23 for four at one stage. Abhiraj played the leading role in triggering that slide.

However, Shuaib came to Oman's rescue, calming a few nerves in the dressing room with some sensible cricket.

With Akshay (5) playing second fiddle, the duo put on 48 for the fifth wicket as Oman managed to stay in the hunt, needing less than 100 with 28 overs to spare and six wickets in hand.

After Akshay left, the well-set Shuaib paired up with Taha to put on a 51 for the sixth wicket.

But Singapore's Aditya Sudharshan, Karthik Suresh and then Abhiraj struck telling blows to ensure Oman fell short of the target.

Meanwhile, China snatched a six-run win against Maldives to win the third-place playoff. Oman's Gayash Dias won the best batsman's award while Mohammed Saafee of Maldives was adjudged the tournament's best bowler.

Brief scores: Final: Singapore 169 in 49.1 overs (Varun 68, Shreyas 2-41) beat Oman 153 in 45.2 overs (Shuaib 65, Taha 39; Abhiraj 3-11).

Third-place playoff: China 106 in 34.5 overs (M Mabrook 3-19) beat Maldives 100 in 31.3 overs (Y Song 3-40, M Han 3-22).


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