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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Despite heartbreak, Saudi’s performance in the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers bodes well for the future
The ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers witnessed a spirited performance by the Saudi Arabian cricket team. Placed in a group with Kuwait, Qatar, and the Maldives, the team showcased their skills and determination throughout the tournament.
With an impressive winning streak of five matches, they demonstrated their potential to compete at an international level.
However, a narrow loss in their final match against Kuwait proved to be a pivotal moment, highlighting the importance of maintaining consistency and learning from experiences.
The Saudi team’s success in the qualifiers owes much to their strong batting performances. Among their standout performers was Faisal Khan, who excelled in two matches against Kuwait and the Maldives. Khan’s top-scoring innings showcased his ability to anchor the team's batting line-up and play crucial innings when needed. His contributions were invaluable in setting and chasing challenging targets of the opposing teams. The Saudi batsmen, as a collective unit, displayed the potential to take on any bowling attack and post up competitive scores.
In the bowling department, the team’s captain, Hisham Sheikh, emerged as a standout performer. Sheikh, with his exceptional bowling skills, had the best bowling figures in three of the six games played during the qualifiers. Twice, he took four wickets in a match, showcasing his ability to dismantle the opposition's batting line-up and make significant contributions to the team’s success.
The Saudi bowling department exhibited versatility and adaptability during the qualifiers. Different bowlers stepped up at different times, showcasing their ability to take wickets and control opposition run rates. This collective effort highlights the team's depth in the bowling department, with multiple players capable of delivering match-winning performances. The bowlers’ ability to adapt to different conditions and restrict the opposition's scoring rate was a key factor in Saudi Arabia’s success throughout the tournament.
However, despite their commendable performance in the qualifiers, the Saudi cricket team faced a heartbreaking defeat in their final match against Kuwait.
The loss came as Kuwait chased down a target of 174 in just under 19 overs. This defeat, albeit narrow, resulted in Kuwait topping the group and progressing ahead in the qualifiers based on a superior net run rate. Such a setback can serve as a crucial learning experience for the Saudi team as they reflect on their overall performance and plan for the future.
Nonetheless, this defeat can serve as a valuable learning experience for Saudi Arabia. It highlights the importance of maintaining consistency and the need to focus on every match, regardless of the circumstances. Looking ahead, the Kingdom’s qualifier performances should be seen as a positive step forward.
Their potential and collective spirit were evident throughout the tournament. By building on their strengths, addressing areas for improvement, and maintaining consistent performances, the team can establish themselves as a formidable force in international cricket.
It is also worth noting that the outstanding performances will have a significant impact on the Saudi U-19 cricket side, as they head to Malaysia for the ACC Premier Cup.
The achievements of the senior team should serve as a tremendous source of inspiration for the young cricketers, instilling in them the belief that they too can excel at the international level.
As the nation continues to invest in cricketing infrastructure and talent development, the experiences gained from the qualifiers will shape their future endeavors. Consistency, a strong batting line-up, refined bowling strategies, and mental resilience will be key factors in their growth. With dedication, strategic planning, and a relentless pursuit of excellence, the future looks promising for Saudi cricket.
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