Bahrain will face Oman today in their third game of the inaugural Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Men’s U-16 West Zone Cup at the Vision Cricket Centre in Sharjah.
The kingdom’s team are well-placed in the round-robin league tournament – that will be won by the side that tops the six-team table – which, in an historic first, is being hosted by the Bahrain Cricket Federation (BCF).
Bahrain won both their first two games convincingly with the winning margins being in excess of 150 runs each time. But the UAE and Kuwait have also won both their initial two games as well, while Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia sit at the bottom of the table after two straight defeats each.
But, despite Oman’s disappointing show in the tournament so far – they lost to the UAE by 109 runs in their opening game last Friday and went down by 27 runs to Kuwait on Saturday – Bahrain coach Sunil Vishwanathan said he and his team would not take them lightly.
“Oman have traditionally been a very good team in the region, both in age-group competitions and the adults’ category,” he told the GDN by phone from Sharjah. “So we expect a tough game, a closely-contested competition and, hopefully, we should be able to get over the line with a collective effort.
“We are now in the crucial phase of the tournament, with three matches each to go for all the six teams. Because this is a league championship, the team that tops the league are going to be the winners.
“So, the next three matches are going to be extremely crucial for all teams and more so, for Bahrain. After Oman, we play against Kuwait and the UAE who, like us, have won their first two games each.”
Vishwanathan also praised the BCF who, he said, had invested a lot of effort in organising its first-ever ACC tournament after the hosting rights were awarded to Bahrain last month. The tournament is being held in Sharjah after the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) agreed to a request by the BCF to allow it to stage it in the UAE because of the unavailability of a cricket stadium in Bahrain.
“With the BCF being the hosts, they have put in a lot of effort to get things organised and up and running,” he said. “And we sincerely hope that we will be able to finish the tournament well, in terms of representing the host country as well as a participating team.”
And the Bahrain coach heaped praise on his young team too, saying they had performed superbly well as a unit.
“They’ve all done outstandingly well,” Vishwanathan said. “And there have been some standout performances from Mohammed Adil, Mohammed Basil, Ayan Obaid Syed with the bat, and his brother Anas, captain Vishwaesh Gurumurthy and leg-spinner Mohammed Shaheen with the ball.
“That’s why we got off to a good start to the tournament and we look forward to keeping up the momentum and confidence in this all-important stage of the tournament.”
The match will start at 3pm, Bahrain time.