Johor pip Sarawak to semis berth

New Straits Times - - Sport - Devin­der Singh

JOHOR squeezed into the knock­out stage of the Fast Track In­ter­State tour­na­ment by the nar­row­est of mar­gins af­ter build­ing an in­nings lead over Sarawak in Sku­dai yes­ter­day.

Trail­ing Sarawak by 2.53 points in the Group A stand­ings head­ing into the week­end, Johor gained a 100-run lead for one bat­ting bonus point and with five points for the draw to Sarawak’s three, en­sured they fin­ished ahead of Sarawak by 0.47 point to join Se­lan­gor in the semi-fi­nals.

In a rain-af­fected match at the Mu­tiara Rini Oval, Soli­hin Rosli hit seven fours and three sixes in his un­beaten knock of 71 off 84 de­liv­er­ies as Johor were dis­missed for 164 be­fore Amir Azim Abd Shukor took six wick­ets for 21 to help bowl Sarawak out for 64 in the first in­nings.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Se­lan­gor trounced Malacca by an in­nings and 189 runs at the Kin­rara Oval to fin­ish top of Group A on 51.59 points to join Group B qual­i­fiers Kuala Lumpur and Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan in the last four.

Opener Harinder Singh Sekhon scored 145 runs off 184 balls as Se­lan­gor de­clared on 348-6 with Malacca only man­ag­ing replies of 88 and 77. Se­lan­gor bowler Wafiq Ir­fan Zar­bani had match fig­ures of 6-42.

With the na­tional team headed for the ACC Emerg­ing Teams Cup in Dhaka this month, the Fast-Track com­pe­ti­tion’s Su­per League stage has been can­celled and re­placed with a knock­out for­mat which is to take place at the end of the year.

“The Su­per League could not be held as the na­tional team will be go­ing to the Emerg­ing Teams Cup,” said Di­nesh Muthu­ra­man, the Malaysian Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion’s gen­eral man­ager for cricket op­er­a­tions.

“In­stead, a knock­out stage will be held in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber with the matches in the semi­fi­nals and fi­nals to be played over two days in­stead of three days.”

How­ever, Di­nesh said the four qual­i­fied teams will all ad­vance to the 2018 Su­per League where they will be joined by one more team from a qual­i­fy­ing round to form a five-team league.

Fol­low­ing the na­tional team’s re­turn from Dhaka, the Malaysian Premier League 50overs com­pe­ti­tion will be­gin on April 6.

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