The Myanmar national team lost all three of its group matches and was eliminated from the Asian Cricket Council Trophy Challenge held in Thailand last week.
The team took on Qatar in its first match on Friday, December 7, and was bowled out for 54 after winning the toss and choosing to bat. Extras top scored with 18, as no batsman managed to reach double digits.
Three Myanmar players scored 8 runs each as it painstakingly resisted the Qatari bowling for 23 overs at the Chiang Mai Gymkhana ground.
In response Qatar reached in the target in 13 overs, but not before Myanmar new ball bowler Abdul Rahmantook two wickets (2/17).
The Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club hosted Myanmar’s December 8 clash against another Middle Eastern opponent, Bahrain. Myanmar again won the toss but this time opted to field to dismiss Bahrain for 250 in the 46th over.
Opening bowler Aye Min Than (2/20) led the Myanmar effort in which all six bowlers took at least one wicket. Imran Sajjad (77 off 80 balls) and Shahzad Siddique (61 off 85) hit half-centuries for Bahrain.Myanmar unfortunately gifted 36 wides.
Myanmar survived to 21.4 overs in its reply, ending up with a total of 32. Aye Min Than backed up his bowling effort by hitting 10 off 17 deliveries, which was the highest score after extras contributed 11. Man of the match Qamar Saeed bagged 5 wickets (5/13) for Bahrain.
After the two demoralising defeats the national team looked ahead to the December 10 battle against China. Last week The Myanmar Times reported that this was the game that the Myanmar cricket team thought it had the most realistic chance of winning.
China was sent in to bat by Myanmar, and was in some trouble at 3 for 45 at the Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club. However all rounder Zhang Yufei (39 off 56) then steadied the innings, as China accumulated 187 runs by the time the final wicket fell in the 48th over. For Myanmar the best of the bowlers were Abdul Rahman (3/34) and Min Wai (3/40).
Myanmar then answered with its best batting in the tournament – but it was not enough, as it fell 100 runs short of target after 35 overs. Chinese captain Wang Lai took four wickets (4/14) to destroy the Myanmar top order.
Singapore eventually won the tournament after defeating Bahrain by 24 runs in the December 13 final. The island nation now looks forward to returning to the “elite” tier of the ACC.
With funding from the ACC dependent on its performance in this tournament, the immediate future of cricket in Myanmar is uncertain. The sport will be played at home in next year’s South East Asian Games, but Myanmar Cricket Federation will now have many headaches about that prospect.
Zeyar Shwe Myay
Nay Pyi Taw FC
United of Thanlyin