Cricketers miss shot at historic gold

KUALA LUMPUR • There was no silver lining for the Singapore men's cricket team yesterday after they let slip the opportunity to win the first-ever gold medal in the sport at the SEA Games.

The coach and the players admitted they were crushed after they lost their 50-overs round-robin match to Malaysia by six wickets.

"I will take nothing away from our boys who played really hard. It's disappointing that we lost the gold but that's the way cricket sometimes turns out," said Singapore coach Arjun Menon after the match.

A win would have given them the gold as they would then have an unassailable lead with four wins out of four matches.

Malaysia, who play their last match against Indonesia today, are on six points, the same as Singapore. They get the gold because they have a better net run rate than Singapore, with their final match against Indonesia only of academic interest.

It is highly unlikely that Indonesia will beat Malaysia by a huge margin to deny the hosts the gold.

Singapore take the silver, while the bronze goes to Thailand.

Inept batting let the Singaporeans down yesterday.

Only opener Navin Param (66) and No. 5 batsman Rezza Gaznavi (86 not out) batted with purpose as Singapore could total only 195 in 49.3 overs on a placid pitch at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur.

The pair put on 107 runs for the fourth wicket, with Gaznavi playing a responsible 118-ball knock that included three boundaries and three sixes.

Once Param got out after a 115-ball stay, Singapore lost another five wickets quickly for the addition of only 32 runs.

Their score was just not adequate to defend on a pitch which stayed true throughout.

Malaysia finished on 196-4 in 44.1 overs.

"Maybe we were 30 runs short, but we got a bad decision and batsman Arun Vijayan suffered a hamstring tear when he was at the crease," said Menon. "But we fought back to put up a decent total."

Earlier yesterday, Singapore's women cricketers opened their Twenty 20 campaign with a nine-wicket loss to Malaysia.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Cricketers miss shot at historic gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe