Hosts Malaysia make winning start
Malaysia started its campaign on the right foot, despite a delayed start at Selangor Turf Club cricket ground, when Suresh Navaratnam dismissed Irfan Bhatti on the second ball the Kuwaiti opener faced in the humidity of Kuala Lumpur.
Watched by a small crowd of supporters at a venue that is surrounded by the Selangor Turf Club racetrack on the south-side of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia then removed Aamir Javed five overs later when the 22-year-old was bowled by Hassan Ghulam, while Navaratnam dismissed Sibtain Raza not long after for just one run.
Captain Hisham Mirza’s arrival at the crease saw Kuwait steady the ship briefly but he departed after scoring just 22 runs. The Div. 7 and 8 winners failed to dazzle against Malaysia, the side only reached a 100 in the 31st over but not before losing six batsmen in the process.
Sloppy shots by the visitors saw the side being caught by superior fielding from the Malaysian side, the team were eventually all out in 151 in less the 50 overs, while strong bowling from Navaratnam – who walked away with figures of 4-15 - helped the host in the first innings.
Post-lunch Malaysia took to the field and it saw the quick departure of Faris Almas who left the crease after making just one run after Abdullah Akhunzada rearranged his stumps, Rajesh Madhavan departed 34 runs later and it was then up to captain Suhan Alagaratanam and Ahmed Faiz to maintain the side’s run-rate before the rains arrived.
After a lengthy stop in play, the match was called to a halt and Malaysia won by 38 runs after D/L was calculated.
Alagaratanam said: “I am very happy to have won. One win and we're building momentum. I was surprised Kuwait chose to bat, the wicket was a bit sticky early on. Our bowlers, especially Suresh Nava did really well and the spinners played a big part.
“It’s a little disappointing not to have finished the match but we know our strengths and I was glad to see how fast we were to the ball when fielding.”
While Kuwait captain Hisham added: “We’re very disappointed to have lost. Our batsmen couldn't cope with the early swing. If we win the toss tomorrow, I will think hard about bowling first.
“We’re missing Mohammad Murad, he's the kind of bowler that gets early breakthroughs and he works well with Saad Khalid. Nevertheless we're looking forward to the rest of the tournament. One strong team would have lost today. We can bounce back.”