Day 2: IRAN MAKE CHINA ALSO-RANS

Iran won through a hard-fought battle with China by 122 runs to give themselves a great chance of qualifying for a semi-final play-off place.

It was "volatile versus volatile" said Calvin Leung, China's manager after the match. "We were quite inconsistent in the field and gave away too many runs," he continued.

Mansour Raeissi hooks Chen Xiudong

Iran were the beneficiaries of 51 extras but misfields abounded and three dropped catches – the most significant being that by Yang Haiming as he ran in from mid-on to grasp a miscued drive from the Iranian captain Abdolvahab Ebrahimpour. At the time he was on 5, Iran were ambling along at under 4 an over mid-way through the innings and China for all their frailties, were in control of the match.

Ebrahimpour hits out

Ebrahimpour, gifted the life, hit a four the very next ball he faced and went on to make another 43 runs from his next 36 balls. Throughout, his tussle with Du Jinglong made for compelling viewing. Ebrahimpour, as he's showed in the ACC U-19 Cup and ACC Trophy can play. Jinglong, (China's 'Mountain Man') the bowler who had created the chance earlier, bowled very well.

Tall, broad in the shoulders and with footballer's thighs, Jinglong hurries the ball through, hitting the bat hard. For someone who's only been playing cricket for two and a half months, Jinglong's mightily impressive.

Du Jinglong gets his man

Jinglong finally bowled Ebrahimpour in his last over, but by then Ebrahimpour had put Iran on the ascendant. In fact China's bowlers are far more accomplished than their batsmen, and once they master the skills of back-foot and front-foot play and bolster their defences, they'll be a team that will command respect.

Iran were 153 when Ebrahimpour was out in the 35th over, having put on 63 with Arif Raeissi and late-order hitting from Sajed Berzahi (23 off 17 balls) took Iran to 192. One loose ball and a wide per over had cost China any chance of pinning Iran to the mat.

Zhang Yufei is relieved to bowl Afshin Terehdast

Iran are actually a stronger bowling side than batting, tiny 11-year Afshin Terehdast for example, able to contribute far more to the team with the ball as second-change than from Number 10 in the batting order. Iran's captain is pretty good with the ball too, swinging the ball in late left-arm over and at pace. With little Terehdast he took two of the first four wickets to fall to have China reeling at 36 for 4 in the 16th over.

Iran were always finding reasons to celebrate

Xu Jiabing, after playing the shot of the day, a cover drive to the boundary off Terehdast, was caught behind next ball, to bring Zhang Yufei, fighting stomach cramps all day, to the crease. China's captain is someone who leads from the front and has an excellent cricket brain, he was China's last hope.

But he was out for 0. And next ball Zhao Xu was also bowled. Ten balls later China were 54 for 8 with 20 overs to go.

Iran were convincing winners, their captain fully deserving the Man of the Match award. China need to just get better, and their batsmen in particular need to be coached a more positive mindset with the strokes to go with them.

Abdolvahab Ebrahimpour

China v Iran, Asian Institute of Technology Ground, Bangkok
Iran won the toss and batted
IRAN WON BY 122 RUNS
Iran: 192 for 9 off 40 overs (M. Raeissi 33, A. Ebrahimpour 48; Z. Yufei 4-35)
China: 70 off 24.5 overs (M. Raeissi 4-4)

Filed December 17 2006