Cricket: Singapore qualify for Asia Cup

Hong Kong wicket-keeper Kabir Sodhi watching as Singapore's Rohan Rangarajan plays a shot to mid-wicket. Rohan was the Man of the Match after hitting 58 off 66 balls. It was his fourth straight half-century in the tournament.
Hong Kong wicket-keeper Kabir Sodhi watching as Singapore's Rohan Rangarajan plays a shot to mid-wicket. Rohan was the Man of the Match after hitting 58 off 66 balls. It was his fourth straight half-century in the tournament.PHOTO COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRICKET COUNCIL

Win over HK also means spot in U-19 World Cup Qualifier Asia Div Two final

Beating the tournament favourites and, in the process, clinching a spot in the Asia Cup for the first time.

Singapore's Under-19 cricketers achieved those feats yesterday when they beat Hong Kong by 89 runs in the semi-finals of the International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Asia Division Two tournament in Malaysia.

Opting to bat at the Bayuemas Oval in Klang, Singapore totalled 220-9 in 50 overs, with opener Rohan Rangarajan slamming 58 off 66 balls.

In reply, Hong Kong were bundled out for 131 in 38.5 overs, with Rohan, 17, taking 5-22 from his allocated 10 overs.

"Patience was the key to Singapore's victory," said captain Janak Prakash, 16. "We bowled a lot of dot balls and built a lot of pressure. Hong Kong wilted."

Added Rohan, the Man of the Match after scoring his fourth consecutive half-century in the tournament: "Our plan was to bat first and put up a big score by playing all the 50 overs - 200 plus was a bonus.

"We were energetic on the field and never gave up. It was a really good win."

The win also enabled Singapore to qualify for the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Asia Division One tournament, which will be held around April next year at a venue yet to be announced.

They will grapple with Malaysia, Afghanistan and Nepal to emerge winners and qualify for the 2018 U-19 World Cup to be held in New Zealand.

But, more significantly, Singapore will be making their debut in the U-19 Asia Cup, to be played in Sri Lanka from Dec 8-22.

They will be competing with the sport's giants - India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - and emerging teams Afghanistan, Nepal and Malaysia.

"Singapore cricket is now at an entirely new level," said Rohan. "It's going to be tough as we will be playing teams with a lot of experience. But we are going to fight hard."

Singapore U-19 team's manager Chetan Suryawanshi, 31, who is also the national senior team's captain, said: "Youngsters playing in the Asian Cup is a good thing. It's also a boost for the senior team to do well at the Asian level."

Singapore's job at the ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier Asia Division Two tournament is not done yet. They play Malaysia, who beat the United Arab Emirates by five wickets in yesterday's other semi-final in Kuala Lumpur, in the final today.

Singapore had lost to Malaysia by three wickets in their opening Group A match, their only defeat in the tournament.

"The match with Malaysia was a close one, it could have gone either way," said Singapore's coach Shoib Razak, 39. "We know how they play. We will stick to our plan and I'm confident it will succeed this time."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore qualify for Asia Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe