The Singapore coach and players said they were immensely disappointed after the team let slip the opportunity to make cricket history at the SEA Games on Wednesday (Aug 23), losing their 50-overs round-robin match to Malaysia by six wickets.
A win would have given them cricket's first-ever Games gold as they would have finished unassailable with four wins out of four matches.
Inept batting let them down.
Only opener Navin Param (66) and No. 5 batsman Rezza Gaznavi (86 not out) batted with purpose, as Singapore could only total 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.
WE LEFT EVERYTHING OUT THERE
Our bowlers did their best, but the Malaysian batsmen played good cricket shots. We just could not do much more.
ANISH PARAAM, Singapore cricket captain, who is proud of his team
"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 Singapore's coach Arjun Menon.
"But we fought back to put up a decent total."
Singapore's opening bowler Shoib Razak (4-42) took two quick wickets, as Malaysia were pegged back to 9-2 in the sixth over.
But then Ahmed Faiz (105) and Virandeep Singh (45) put on 145 runs for the third wicket which carried the hosts to safety.
Though they lost a couple of quick wickets later to Shoib, Malaysia finished on 196-4 in 44.1 overs.
Singapore's spinners, who were exceptional in previous matches, failed to take a wicket as the Malaysian batsmen boldly played their shots knowing that victory was close.
Unfortunately for Singapore, Faiz was dropped when he was in his 20s.
"We had Malaysia on the back foot at the beginning of their innings, but Faiz batted exceptionally well," said Menon.
"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 how cricket sometimes turns out."
Said Singapore's captain Anish Paraam: "It's disappointing but I can't really fault our players because we fought really well. One or two decisions went against us, which left us about 30 runs short. Our bowlers did their best, but the Malaysian batsmen played good cricket shots. We just could not do much more."
Earlier on Wednesday, Singapore's women cricketers opened their Twenty 20 campaign with a nine-wicket loss to Malaysia.
They ended their innings at 55-6, with Vathana Sreemurugavel top scoring with 13 runs, before the hosts easily overcame them with 58-1 in just 7.3 overs.