BAHRAIN will play hosts Malaysia today in the final of the 2022-23 Malaysia Quadrangular T20I Series at the UKM-YSD Cricket Oval in Bangi after a washout in yesterday’s crucial last group game against Qatar enabled the kingdom’s team to finish the league stage just one point ahead of their opponents.
Bahrain had entered yesterday’s match with six points from their five previous games while Qatar had five with their game against Malaysia on Wednesday also being abandoned because of heavy rain after just eight overs had been bowled in the first inning of the match.
The abandoned game yesterday, after Bahrain, batting first, were 97 for four in the 14th over, resulted in the kingdom’s team getting one point to raise their tally to seven while Qatar, who must be bitterly disappointed to have had their campaign disrupted by the weather on two consecutive days, finished with six points.
Earlier, after Qatar captain Mohammed Rizlan won the toss and put them in, a 66-run third-wicket partnership off just eight overs between Imran Anwar and Sohail Ahmed helped Bahrain recover from the loss of both openers by the time the score had reached 19 at the end of the fourth over.
Anwar, who had hit four fours and two sixes in a 40-ball 46, was then bowled by Valeed Veetil off the last ball of the 12th over with Bahrain 85 for three.
Ahmed, who appeared to be in the same groove as in the previous day’s game against Singapore when he scored a fluent 52, hit a couple of boundaries after captain Sarfaraz Ali was run out for one with Bahrain 87 for four.
Looking good for another half-century, Ahmed was batting on 33 not out off 24 balls with Bahrain 97 for four off 13.4 overs before a thunderstorm forced the batsmen and fielders to run for the shelter provided by the pavilion.
After about an hour, with the rain showing no signs of abating and the ground becoming increasingly water-logged, the umpires decided to call off the match.
The weather forecast for Bangi today also doesn’t look promising with cloudy conditions expected to prevail in the morning – which is when the final will be played – with thunderstorms predicted for the early afternoon, which could potentially disrupt the third-place play-off between Singapore and Qatar.
Bahrain will be hoping for a rain-free morning as they seek to win their first-ever T20I tournament.
Meanwhile, Malaysia, who won five of their six group games and looked on target to win their sixth as well before their encounter with Qatar was rained out on Wednesday, will be looking to continue their dominance over the kingdom’s team, having defeated them twice in the group stage.