Cricket: Singapore stun higher-ranked Scots for two-run opening win in World Cup qualifiers

Surendran Chandramohan, who scored 51 runs, hitting a boundary in Singapore's two-run win over Scotland in their T20 World Cup qualifier in Dubai.
Surendran Chandramohan, who scored 51 runs, hitting a boundary in Singapore's two-run win over Scotland in their T20 World Cup qualifier in Dubai.PHOTO: ICC

Singapore cricket celebrated another high when the men's team defeated fancied Scotland in the opening match of the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dubai on Friday (Oct 18).

A team effort saw the Republic defend 168-6 in their 20 overs when the match appeared to be slipping away in the last over.

Top seed Scotland, ranked 10 rungs higher than Singapore's world No. 21, needed just eight runs in the last over.

And with four wickets in hand, they were the favourites. Instead, Singapore captain Amjad Mahboob bowled a sterling over to concede just five runs for a famous win and dismissed three batsmen.

While his contribution was decisive, Janak Prakash, 19, epitomised bravery when he suffered a nasty cut over his right eye and blood spilled from the sizeable gash.

But he returned after getting help from the medical team. With his head stitched up and wrapped in bandage, he bravely bowled the penultimate over, conceding 11 runs for his skipper to craft the win.

It was off-spinner Selladore Vijayakumar who brought Singapore into contention.

In an eight-delivery spell, he removed three key men, conceding 16 runs in his four overs to land the man-of-the-match award.

Tim David snapped two brilliant catches and made an athletic run to make amends for his failure to contribute with the bat - with the Singapore runs coming mainly from Surendran Chandramohan (51 in 55 balls), Aritra Dutta (32 in 15 balls) and Manpreet Singh's run-a-ball 26.

Six spots in the T20 World Cup in Australia next year are up for grabs in the 14-team qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates ending on Nov 2.

Singapore's other opponents in Group A are Bermuda (world No. 30), the Netherlands (16), Kenya (29), Papua New Guinea (17) and Namibia (20).

To reach this tournament, Singapore had beaten No. 11 Nepal en route to winning the Asian regional final in July.

Local cricket has celebrated a number of recent highs.

Last month, the men scored an upset victory over Zimbabwe at the Singapore Tri-Nations T20 Series at Balestier Road, the first time Singapore has beaten a Test-playing, International Cricket Council full member country.

Singapore also won SEA Games gold in the T20 format in 2017.

Singapore Cricket Association president Mahmood Gaznavi said that the opening win will put them in the proper frame of mind for the remaining matches.

"We all agreed that beating Scotland in the opener was the target,'' he said.

"We have five more games in the group stage.

"Rather than focusing on this triumph, we will regroup and prepare for the upcoming games, knowing that the competition is tough and every opponent is to be respected."