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Thailand qualify for semi finals of ACC Trophy Challenge

Thailand qualify for semi finals of ACC Trophy Challenge

The jubilant Thai players celebrate after their first ever victory over the Maldives. (Photo ACC/Eric Little)

CMM Reporters
Thailand’s men’s cricket team breezed into Monday’s semi-finals after remaining unbeaten in the group stages at the ACC Trophy Challenge 2009 tournament taking place here in Chiang Mai.
A last gasp thrilling win over the Maldives last Monday was followed up later in the week with comprehensive victories over China and Iran by eight wickets and 97 runs respectively.
Thailand’s 6 run win over the Maldives at the Gymkhana ground was their first ever against their arch-rivals from the Indian Ocean and Assistant Coach Ziaul Hoque was naturally jubilant at the result: “We’ve been trying for four years to beat them, this is a sweet victory and shows how good we are getting,” said Hoque.
Thailand had posted a score of 165 from 49 overs with Nishadh Rego top scoring with 62 not out. The Maldives had a great go at reaching the target but fell just 6 runs short, with Rego once more showing his all round skills by taking 3-38.
The home team’s form proved too much for China in their second match, the Chinese being all out for 39 with man of the match Noppon Senamontree taking 4-21. Thailand knocked off the required runs for in the loss of just 2 wickets in 6.3 overs.
Next up for the Thais was Iran in what was effectively a quarter-final tie. Thailand won the toss, batted first and posted a commanding 230 from their 50-over allotment with captain Zeeshan Khan top scoring with 63. The Iranians never really got going in their reply despite a valiant knock of 40 from skipper Nariman Bakhtiar. They lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually all out for 133, with Ashish Dey taking 3-18, and Shyam Sideek 3-25 for the home side.
The Thai team was due to play its semi-final game at the Gymkhana ground this Monday against either Brunei or Bhutan. The winner of that match will go on to face either Oman or the Maldives in the final this Wednesday at the Prem Oval. Should Thailand fail to come through their semi final, they will play in the 3rd and 4th place playoff match at the Gymkhana ground, also on Wednesday.
For the very latest results check the tournament website at www.asiancricket.org.