Singapore 168/6 (Chandramohan 51, Dutta 32, Davey 2-26) defeated Scotland 166/9 (Munsey 46, Macleod 44, Selladore 3-16) by 2 runs.
Singaporean skipper Amjad Mahboob defended 8 runs off the final over to deny “favourites” Scotland a crucial 2 points in the opening game of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Amajd, who was only handed the captaincy in July for the Asia Regional Qualifiers, led his team to their fourth high-profile win in the space of 14 weeks, proving everyone except for this guy wrong. Considering how Singapore slayed their three previous giants while defending a score, this know-it-all (who I’m going to follow on Twitter and Facebook right now) was surprised when the Scottish decided to bowl first.
In their defence, they did manage to reduce Singapore to 7-2 in the first 7 balls of the innings, dismissing talisman Tim David and opener Rohan Rangarajan in the process.
With Surendran Chandramohan struggling to find momentum, T20 specialist Aritra Dutta laid into Ali Evans, dispatching a chest high full toss for six before pulling the resulting free hit over square leg for another maximum.
However, soon after a fortuitous top-edged pull off Evans that went the distance, the swashbuckler missed a straight one from Hamza Tahir, leaving Singapore 51/3 in the 7th over.
However, Surendran Chadramohan changed tempo as he so often does, scoring 40 runs off his last 26 balls after labouring to 11 off his first 29 as he stitched a 78-run partnership with wicket keeper-batsman Manpreet Singh.
Despite losing the settled duo in consecutive overs, lusty blows from Navin Param and teenage sensation Janak Prakash pushed Singapore to a competitive 168 as naïve sceptics were left scratching their head as to how this was possible without a big Tim David contribution.
Scotland started their chase strongly as George Munsey took the attack to Amjad and Powerplay spin specialist Vinoth Bhaskaran (also known as the Singaporean Michael Beer…well not really, but I’m hoping it catches on).
Then came a potentially calamitous moment that seemed to swing the pendulum in Scotland’s favour. One ball into his second over, Janak Prakash—brought in to stem the flow of runs—was struck above his right eye in his follow through by a powerful Kyle Coetzer drive. A bloodied Janak was forced to walk off the field as Scotland pummeled 29 runs off the last 11 balls of their Powerplay.
With 105 needed off the last 14 overs at exactly 7.5 an over the Scots were cruising before Sidhant Singh dismissed the set Munsey and Ollie Hairs in quick succession.
This opened the “dore” for the man himself, immortal 40-year-old Selladore Vijaya Kumar who choked a Scottish team that couldn’t buy a run of his bowling.
The man-of-the-match conceded just 16 runs in his spell, grabbing the wickets of Kyle Coetzer, Richie Berrington, and Matt Cross to stifle the men in navy blue, who lost half their side with 42 still required off the last 4.
Callum Macleod, however, cleared Tim David at deep midwicket off the last ball of the 17th over before Tom Sole took the Perth Scorchers all-rounder for 13 runs when he was surprisingly asked to bowl the 17th over.
David, however, would have the last laugh as he stopped a Macleod drive off his own bowling before flicking it onto the stumps at the non-strikers end to send Sole back to the pavilion.
McLeod would keep his cool at the other end, hitting a boundary and a trio of twos in the penultimate over off Janak, who had returned to the field after receiving stitches.
With 8 needed off 6, the odds were still in Scotland’s favour until Macleod pulled skipper Amjad to Tim David at midwicket to leave Scotland needing 7 off 3.
Tim David would be in action once again as he took a diving catch to get rid of Safyaan Sharif.
With 5 needed off the final ball, and a super over seeming like a possibility, Josh Davey was unable to beat Tim David at deep midwicket. Despite the bails being prematurely knocked off, Aritra Dutta plucked the stump out of the ground with the same hand that he collected Tim David’s throw.
Singapore won by 2 runs to slay yet another giant on their way to 2 crucial points. More importantly, however, they put the world on notice.
If you still think Singapore are underdogs, think again.
And after yet another “upset,” do you really want to bet against them qualifying for the World Cup?