Report by Richard Lockwood, Cricket Association of Thailand

China faced Iran in the play-off for fifth and sixth places in the ACC Trophy Challenge at TCG. China were looking to end the tournament strongly after winning only one match so far, while Iran were looking to put the disappointment of their forfeited match against Thailand well behind them.

China had looked certain winners when they bowled out Iran for just 55 thanks to a disciplined display with the ball, but the Iran’s never say die approach is to be commended as they fought back to dismiss China’s all too weak batting line-up for 38 to gain a remarkable victory by 17 runs.

There was a dramatic start to the match as Shirmohammad Balouchnezhad was out second ball for two bowled by China captain Wang Lei to leave Iran 2 for 1.

Salman Sheikhi also lasted two balls as he was caught at slip by Zhang Yufei for nought as Iran were now 2 for 2 after the first four balls of their innings. The Iran team had obviously been watching Australia play in Adelaide.

Iran’s troubles continued as captain Yousef Raeisi was run out by the length of the pitch as his side slipped to 10 for 3 in the fifth over.

Wang Lei's impressive opening spell continued as he claimed his third wicket when Naiem Bameri got the thinnest of edges through to wicket-keeper Zhao Gaosheng to fall without scoring to leave Iran on 13 for 4.

Iran narrowly avoided another run out but opener Rashed Bameri injured himself in making his ground requiring a long delay and the services of a runner. Iran were 16 for 4 after 8 overs.

Rashed Bameri crashed an off drive to the boundary but his partner Ali Narouei was deceived by a yorker from Zhang Peng to be bowled for one. Iran were 21 for 5 in the 10th over.

Iran's most talented player Abdoulwahab Ebrahimipour had come to the crease but he would surely have to play the innings of his life if his side were to have any chance in this match.

After an action-packed start to the game Iran were now trying to rebuild their innings and had reached 38 for 5 after 14 overs at drinks.

Iran then suffered their second run out of the morning with runner Naeim Bameri not heeding the call of the batsman he was running for. The result was that Rashed Bameri was run out for 19 and Iran were still in trouble on 47 for 6.

Iran lost their seventh wicket on 49 in the 20th over when Abdolwahab Ebrahimipour was bowled by spinner Sun Duo for six. The Chinese bowling attack were keeping up the pressure well and were looking to finish off the Iran innings as quickly as possible.

Li Jian was the fourth seam bowler called into the attack and it was the pace of the Chinese bowlers that was causing most of Iran's problems. Loghman Sheikhi was bowled for nought to leave Iran on 53 for 8.

China's bowling attack looked one of the best balanced in the tournament as the seocnd spinner Wang Jing was called into the attack. It was fellow spinner Sun Duo who took the ninth wicket as Najib Arjamandi was lbw for nought. Iran were 54 for 9.

The end came quickly. So often in this tournament teams have not had the strength in depth to bowl out sides after taking early wickets. This is not the case with China today as their sixth bowler, Wang Jing finished off the innings by bowling Mohammad Siyasar for one. Iran were 55 all out with Wang Lei taking 3 for 11.

China had shown how far they had improved with the ball over recent months. How would they fare with the bat with just 56 runs needed to win?

China's task may not be as easy as it seems as Abdolwahab Ebrahimipour is a formidable left-arm fast medium bowler. He struck at the end of his first over as he bowled Li Jian for nought as China lost their first wicket with the score on two.

Naeim Bameri replaced Mohammad Siyasar after one over and he soon took the second wicket when Song Yanyang tried to hit to leg but skied the ball to cover and was well taken by Ali Narouei. China were 16 for two after 4 overs.

Zhang Yufei was fourth to go as he was caught at mid on by Salman Sheikhi from the bowling of Bameri for nought. China were 17 for four.

The fall of Chinese wickets continued. Wang Lei was lbw first ball for nought. China 17 for five as Bameri took his third wicket in four balls.

Then Wang Dianyi was lbw to Ebrahimipour for nought. China were now 21 for 6.

Worse was to follow as the batsmen found life in the middle at TCG very difficult as Zhang Quiri was bowled by Bameri for one. China were 21 for 7. 35 more runs needed, only 3 wickets left.

It was hard to keep up with the procession of wickets, as 17 batsmen had been and gone in the first three hours of the match. Could sensible cricket from the Chinese tail-enders still save the day? Would the Iranians keep calm in the field?
The last 30 minutes leading up to lunch had looked to be in total contrast to what had gone before it as the Iran captain turned to his spinners Loghman Sheikhi and Najib Arjamandi. The Chinese pair of Sun Duo and Wang Jing adopted a cautious aproach and the score inched upwards.

Suddenly the stalemate was broken as Wang Jing was bowled by Najib for six and the score was 38 for 8. Would the match be completed before lunch?

The last over before lunch was as dramatic as the first over of the morning had been with Loghman Sheikhi taking the last two wickets as China were bowled out for 38. Sun Duo was bowled for four and last man Zhao Gaosheng was stumped by Yahya Sheikhi for nought.

Iran had gained victory in remarkable fashion by 17 runs to finish fifth in the ACC Trophy Challenge. They gave a spirited display in the field as they never gave up even with a total of just 55 to defend.

China's bowlers had shown encouraging signs of progress as a well-drilled unit, but the same cannot be said of their batsmen. All 20 wickets had fallen before lunch for just 93 runs as the ball totally dominated the bat.

ACC Trophy Challenge 2010

5th/6th Playoff: China v Iran at TCG
Iran won the toss and chose to bat
Iran: 55 all out off 26.3 overs (Wang Lei 3-11)
China: 38 all out off 16.5 overs (N. Bameri 4-12, A. Ebrahimipour 3-12)
Man of the Match: Naeem Bameri (Iran)

Tournament page

Filed December 10th, 2010