Middle-order stumble costly as U-19 cricketers lose final

Malaysia U-19 captain Virandeep Singh playing a shot during his unbeaten 49, as wicket-keeper Hanshul Deep watches. Despite the six-wicket defeat, Singapore have qualified for the U-19 Asia Cup.
Malaysia U-19 captain Virandeep Singh playing a shot during his unbeaten 49, as wicket-keeper Hanshul Deep watches. Despite the six-wicket defeat, Singapore have qualified for the U-19 Asia Cup.PHOTO: MALAYSIAN CRICKET ASSOCIATION

A middle-order collapse effectively derailed Singapore's chances of winning the International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Asia Division Two final yesterday.

Opting to bat at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur against hosts Malaysia, Singapore started brightly, with opener Rohan Rangarajan scoring 38. But, from 40-1, they lost five wickets for the addition of only 54 runs, before being all out for 134 in 40.2 overs.

"It was a good wicket, we could have scored more," said captain Janak Prakash, who remained unbeaten on 38. "Our batsmen really did not apply themselves as the Malaysians bowled a restrictive length."

The home side, too, struggled for runs as Singapore's bowlers kept it tight. But a patient 49 not out from captain Virandeep Singh took Malaysia to 135-4 in 41.5 overs, giving them the trophy after a six-wicket win with 49 balls to spare.

"We failed to build partnerships and, though our bowlers bowled well, our score was difficult to defend," said Singapore's coach Shoib Razak. "Things could have been different if we had put on another 40 runs."

Singapore had lost to Malaysia by three wickets in their group match.

"It's disappointing that Singapore lost, but we were without five of our regular players as they could not play in this tournament because of exams," said Singapore's manager Chetan Suryawanshi, also the national senior team captain. "We had to fill their places with U-16 players.

"The lack of a proper ground (for the Singapore Cricket Association) also limited the team to playing only a few warm-up matches. Overall, our players gained experience from this tournament which will stand them in good stead for tougher battles ahead."

By finishing second, Singapore qualified for the U-19 Asia Cup, which will be held in Sri Lanka in December, and the World Cup Asian Division One qualifiers, to be played around April next year in a venue yet to be announced.

"We bonded well as a team and learnt a lot from our matches in Malaysia," said Janak. "We hope to apply the experience we gained effectively at the Asia Cup."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2016, with the headline 'Middle-order stumble costly as U-19 cricketers lose final'. Print Edition | Subscribe