Johor pip Sarawak to semis berth
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.