The Singapore men's cricket team achieved their target of getting further ahead of Malaysia on net run rate, but the brittleness of their batting was exposed in their four-wicket win over Myanmar yesterday.
"Our aim was to score quickly and put pressure on Malaysia because net run rate could play a big part if weather affects the remaining matches," said coach Arjun Menon. "Losing wickets does not matter in this case."
Singapore, set a target of 99 to win by minnows Myanmar, who were 98 all out in 42 overs in the 50-overs SEA Games match at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur, put on 44 for the opening wicket in 5.3 overs, but then lost five more wickets as they reached 100-6 in 13.5 overs.
Openers Navin Param (37 off 33 balls) and Rezza Gaznavi (17 off 16 balls) stuck to their task, but the rest of the top order showed an inability to pull off shots without losing their wickets, as Myanmar medium pacer Paing Danu finished with 5-23.
After beating Indonesia and Myanmar, Singapore have a net run rate of 3.637.
Malaysia, who have played only one match, against Thailand whom they beat, are at 3.200.
The gold is likely to be decided in the clash between Singapore and Malaysia on Wednesday.
"We lost a few wickets but we stuck to our plan and improved our net run rate," said Singapore's captain Anish Paraam, who was caught behind without scoring. "Myanmar are a disciplined side and it took a good team effort to get us the win."
In the morning, off-spinner Dharmichand Mulewa took 7-22 as the Myanmar batsmen defended doggedly at the crease.
"They were very defensive, so I had to vary my pace and flight," said the 33-year-old Mulewa. "Sometimes I had to draw them out into playing shots by bowling a bit slow."
Menon said: "Our bowling was top-notch. It was a batting pitch and we had to be patient. Dharmi bowled really well, he showed his experience."
Singapore next play Thailand, who lost to Malaysia by 160 runs, tomorrow.
"Thailand limited Malaysia to 265-6 in 50 overs, so they are not pushovers," said Paraam. "We have got to be at our best."