|World Cricket League Division 5, Singapore, February 2012|
Caymans are a cruise for Malaysia
Malaysia secured its second victory although it should have been wrapped up much sooner after they had Cayman Islands on 36 for eight in the 20th over - but Conroy Wright had other plans and helped by the lower order ground out a more respectable total for the Caribbean islands to defend of 126.
Early in the innings, the Asian side’s bowlers tempted the men from the Caribbean into playing cheap shots and being caught by Malaysia’s agile fielders.
Hassan Ghulam and Hiran Ralalage proved the pick of the bowlers along with captain Suresh Navaratnam as the team had Abali Hoilett’s team on the back foot from the word go, opener Ainsley Hall was the first to receive his marching orders after scoring just one run. The 39-year-old hit the ball into the hands of Suhan Alagaratnam after the wicketkeeper-batsman had been tempted into a hit from fast bowler Hassan Ghulam.
The fast bowling duo ripped through the Caymanian top order leaving Hoilett’s side reeling by the 13th over with just 26 runs on the board and six wickets down. The downward spiral continued for the team when Navaratnam took to the bowling attack, the 36-year-old off-spinner enticing the lower order into giving up their place at the crease.
Despite another spirited turn by Conroy Wright who was out on 56 runs batting at number nine, the team managed to make just 126 in less than 50 overs, a feat that didn’t seem likely in the first half of the day after the Caymanians managed to edge nearly every ball to be caught behind by the nifty Malaysian slip cordon.
In reply, Malaysia took its time to reach the target, bedding in for some 30 overs and losing just one wicket in the process. Shafiq Sharif continued to show fine form in the tournament, the 21-year-old hitting 74 not out – the young wicketkeeper was assisted in his run-making first by Ahmed Faiz, who retired hurt on 31 and then by Suhan Alagaratnam.
The only wicket to fall was that of Rakesh Madhavan who departed for a duck after the inform Wright tempted him to strike the ball into the hands of Steve Gordon.
Malaysia head coach, Roy Dias said: “There was plenty of movement in the wicket in the first 30 or so overs but after that the wicket settled down which allowed Conroy Wright to bed in and make his runs.
“We bowled well at the start and the seamers did a fantastic job but ultimately our spinners came into it to finish the Cayman Islands up on 126. I was happy with our response, even though we took some 30 overs to get there. I feel Shafiq is settling well into his role and making good runs, I’m pleased to see he’s got two Man of the Match awards in two days of games.”