ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier: Bahrain qualify for the Semifinals!
Bahrain qualify for World T20 Asia Qualifier semi-final despite four-wicket loss to Kuwait in last Group B match. The kingdom’s team finished second in the four-team table with two points from three games, ahead of Hong Kong and Kuwait who also had two points each, because of a better net run-rate (NRR). Needing 159 runs […]
Bahrain qualify for World T20 Asia Qualifier semi-final despite four-wicket loss to Kuwait in last Group B match.
The kingdom’s team finished second in the four-team table with two points from three games, ahead of Hong Kong and Kuwait who also had two points each, because of a better net run-rate (NRR).
Needing 159 runs to win, Kuwait needed to get to the target in 14 overs or less to boost their NRR above Bahrain’s. They eventually managed to reach the milestone in 16.3 overs, which meant that Bahrain’s NRR stayed above Hong Kong’s as well.
Kuwait’s first win in the tournament brought them level with Bahrain and Hong Kong, who had both also won one and lost two games each, on two points but Bahrain’s superior NRR (-0.398) enabled them to pip both Hong Kong (-0.433) and Kuwait (-0.649) for a slot in the last-four stage.
The UAE topped the Group B table with six points from three straight wins and will face Nepal, who finished second in the Group A table, in the first semi-final today.
Bahrain will now face Group A table-toppers Oman, who won all three of their matches, in the second semi-final, also today.
“I’m glad that we managed to qualify for the semi-final but I’m not happy about the defeat,” Bahrain head coach Bhaskar Pillai told the GDN by phone from Kathmandu.
“Consistency seems to be an issue. We play very well one day – as in the win over Hong Kong in our second game – and then are off-colour on another day.
“Today, we did marginally better, batting-wise, in the first six overs, compared to the first two games, but we lost too many wickets, didn’t get any partnerships going and ended up short of the 175-run total I thought we should have gotten.
“Then, the bowlers were off-colour today. Yes, we got early wickets but we also bowled too many loose deliveries. Our fielding was also not up to par.
“Still, we’re through to the semi-final and we will be up against Oman who are a professional side like the UAE. They have several match-winners in their line-up plus they’re quite experienced and have looked confident throughout their group matches.”
In yesterday’s game, batting first after captain Umer Toor lost his third toss in a row, Bahrain recovered from the early loss of the recalled Sarfaraz Ali for a first-ball duck in the opening over of the innings and Toor, for a quick-fire 22 in the third over, to race to 69 for two in the ninth over, courtesy of a rapid 46-run third-wicket partnership between Imran Anwar and Imran Ali.
Anwar then departed at the same score for a 25-ball 37 – the top score of the innings – and the Bahrain innings stuttered along thereafter as wickets fell regularly with Ali (22), Sohail Ahmed (15), Haider Butt (18) and Junaid Aziz (11) all getting into double figures and failing to go on.
“Losing wickets so regularly hurt us and I think we finished at least 20 runs short of what we should have scored,” Pillai said.
“Anwar was outstanding – as I keep on saying, he’s an impact player – and he did the job he was supposed to do at number three. But he also fell just as he was really coming into his own and the batters after him failed to capitalise on the momentum he had built.”
The start of Kuwait’s innings was far from ideal for them as Bahraini medium-pacers Rizwan Butt and Ali Dawood removed openers Meet Bhavsar and Ravija Sandaruwan cheaply before left-arm spinner Majid Abbasi accounted for Diju Sheeli to leave the Kuwaitis reeling at 39 for three in the fifth over.
But Usman Patel, who was given a life at the start of his innings when Anwar dropped a sitter, made the most of the new lease of life, clobbering six fours and five sixes to ensure Kuwait’s run-chase stayed on track.
By the time Patel was finally bowled by Rizwan Butt for a blistering 64 off just 34 balls, Kuwait were happily placed at 117 for five in the 12th over with victory almost assured.
Skipper Mohammed Aslam ensured that his side did get home with an unbeaten 20-ball 36 but, in the end, Kuwait’s victory turned out to be bittersweet as they were eliminated from the competition.
“That dropped catch off Patel really cost us,” Pillai explained.
“He really tore into the bowling after that and, since it was his day, almost every stroke he played went for four or six. But, if the catch had been taken, Kuwait would have been four down and things could have turned out differently.
“In the end, though, we just managed to stay above Hong Kong’s NRR. All credit to Sathaiya Veerapathiran who bowled the 17th over in which they got to the target. If Kuwait had reached the target in 16.2 overs, our NRR would have dipped below Hong Kong’s.
“And when Sathaiya started that over, Kuwait needed seven runs to win. His first delivery was a dot ball which meant that, even though Aslam hit the next two balls for successive fours, Kuwait reached the target in 16.3 overs – and our NRR stayed above Hong Kong’s!
“So it was a nail-biting end to a thrilling game but not the result we wanted. It’s in the past now and all we’re focused on now is the semi-final against Oman.”
The UAE topped the table with six points from three straight wins.