Rain Doesn’t Dampen Philippines Spirit as Team Joins Japan at Top of Table in World Cup Qualifier on Day 4

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – ICC Media Release – The Philippines made it two in a row to share top of the table with Japan after the home team beat South Korea in a thrilling match Wednesday at Friendship Oval, Cavite.

The Philippines win sets up a top of the table clash Thursday between the Philippines and Japan that may decide the winner of the tournament.

The winner will advance to the next round of qualifiers in Papua New Guinea in 2019.

The ultimate prize is entry to the Cricket World Cup to be played in Australia in 2020.

The World Cup is expected to attract a global television audience of more than 1.5 billion people.

After a brief rain delay Wednesday, the match got underway with the Philippines taking on South Korea in a must-win match for both teams. With the highest winning margin for the tournament being just 12 runs, another close match was expected. Winning the toss and electing to bat, Philippines’ opener, Jan Kiani (15 off 10) was dropped off the very first ball of the innings. His opening partner, Milan Singh (0 off 3), received no such luck being caught 3 balls later.

The South Korean bowling line up continued to pile on the pressure with Muhammad Nadeem (3/29 off 4) taking two important wickets in his second over. At the other end, Mudassir Iqbal (4/20 of 3.5) was relentless in his line and length picking up wickets throughout the innings.

The Philippines’ batsmen struggled in the damp conditions, with captain Jonathan Hill (23 off 27) the pick of the bunch. Regular wickets reduced the Philippines to 103 all-out off 17.5 overs.

In reply, South Korea got off to a shaky start as Surinder Singh (3/17 off 4) took two wickets in his opening over, including the dangerous Mudassir Iqbal (1 off 5). The Philippines struck regularly with Daniel Smith (2/13 off 4) also removing two batsmen in the 5th over of the innings. This left the visitors reeling at 5/26 off 6 overs.

Coming off an excellent spell with the ball, Muhammad Nadeem (38 off 29) stemmed the flow and took South Korea to within striking distance of winning the match. Nadeem was caught behind in the 17th over which brought the injured last man Francois Pieters (2 off 5) to the crease. Despite having an injured knee, Pieters batted bravely but was trapped in front by Henry Tyler (2/31 off 3.1) much to the delight of the predominately Filipino crowd. The win took the Philippines onto level points as table toppers Japan.

In the afternoon match, Japan followed the tournament trend by winning the toss and electing to bat. The decision failed to yield the same results as previous matches as Japan slipped to 64/8 in the 13th over and looked in real trouble. Gede Darma Arata (4/20 off 4) was the man causing most of the problems as he clean-bowled four of the Japanese batsmen as they each tried to cut balls that were too close to them.

At that stage Japan looked to be heading for a modest total but fought back to give themselves a chance. A 36-run partnership for the 9th wicket between Muneeb Siddique Mian (16 of 15) and Kohei Wakita (18 of 21) took the team total to 100 all-out off 18 overs.

Indonesia took aim at Jun Yamashita’s (2/24 off 3) off-spin by hitting 3 sixes off the first over and looked to be running away with the match. However, both openers fell in the second over of the innings as Muneeb Siddique Mian (2/23 off 4) swung the momentum back in Japan’s favour. This was aptly supported by Makoto Taniyama’s (0/9 off 4) spell returning an impressive economy rate of 2.25.

However, the day belonged to Indonesia who were able to chase down the total in a dramatic last over. I Kadek Gamantika (26 off 30) topped scored with four other batsmen contribution scores above 10 to see Indonesia across the line.

Scores summary
Philippines 103 all out (17.5) - Hill 23 (27), Iqbal 4/20 (3.5), Nadeem 3/29 (4) defeated South Korea 99 all out (19.1) - Nadeem 38 (29), Singh 3/17 (4) by 4 runs.

Indonesia 6/101 (19.5) - Gamantika 26 (30), Sidique 2/23 (4), Yamashita 2/24 (3) defeated Japan 100 all out (18) - Wakita 18 (21), Arta 4/20 (4) by 4 wickets

South Korea4132-0.304