BAHRAIN’S Under-16 team will take on the UAE U16 side at the Eden Gardens Cricket Ground in Ajman tomorrow in the first of two bilateral games scheduled for this week.
The 14-member squad, chaperoned by assistant U16 coach Azeem-ul-Haque, has already played two practice matches against local cricket academy teams since arriving in the UAE on Thursday.
In the first game on Friday, played against the Simply Cricket Academy (SCC) U16 team, Bahrain romped to a massive 124-run win in the 35-overs-a-side game played at the Victoria Skyline Cricket Ground in Sharjah.
Batting first, Bahrain rattled up an imposing total of 221 for seven before medium-pacer Ashish Sadashiva Acharya, on debut, snapped up five for 25 off seven overs as the SCC innings ended at 97 for nine after 20 overs with wicketkeeper Vansh Sahni forced to retire hurt.
Earlier, Bahrain captain Aryan Ashwin top-scored with 66 off 82 balls and put on 91 for the first wicket in 20 overs with Abhinav Girish Vashisht before the latter departed for 27.
Ashwin then dominated a quickfire 50-run stand off just 28 balls for the second wicket with Sai Sarthak before falling leg-before to Ayaan Misbah with his team 141 for two in the 26th over.
Later, a composed 33 off 35 balls by Vishwaesh Gurumurthy and some lusty hitting by Muhammad Adil Haq, who bludgeoned a 10-ball 24 with four fours and a six, enabled Bahrain to score 80 runs off the last 10 overs of the innings.
In the second game against the Sharjah Cricket Academy (SCA) U16 team at Ajman’s Malek Cricket Stadium yesterday, the hosts managed to eke out a nail-biting, three-wicket victory over Bahrain in a match that went into the final six balls of the 35-over game.
Batting first, Bahrain racked up 247 for seven off their allotted overs after opener Vashisht scored a fine 48, number three Sarthak hit a stroke-filled 79 off 80 balls and Haq, continuing from where he had left off the previous day, blasted three huge sixes in a 42-ball 57.
Needing 248 to win, the SCA slumped to 198 for six after the first ball of the 29th over but an unbeaten, 19-ball 26 by Zainullah Khan enabled them to reach the target with two balls to spare despite losing their seventh wicket at the end of the penultimate over with 11 runs still required for victory.
With important Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and International Cricket Council (ICC) U16 events on the horizon in the first quarter of 2023, this tour will play an important part in the Bahrain U16 team’s preparations for those tournaments.
The young cricketers received a pleasant surprise after the match yesterday when ACC head of events Prabhakaran Thanraj visited the ground and interacted with the squad.