JAPAN maintained top spot on the table after defeating South Korea, as the Philippines returned to the winner’s circle by defeating Indonesia.
The Philippines won the toss and elected to bat against Indonesia in the opening match of the day. The decision was rewarded as Philippines’ captain Jonathan Hill combined classy placement along the ground with proficient use of the slog sweep to clear the rope on six occasions, before eventually holding out at deep mid-wicket for 62 (31).
At that stage, Philippines looked set for a huge total however the bowling of Indonesia’s Anjar Tadarus (5/32 off 3.5) saw the score go from 116/3 to 133/9 in the space of four overs. The Philippines 10th wicket partnership saw them all out for 156.
In response, Indonesia were off to a flying start at 36-0 after three overs before two quick wickets to Philippines bowler Surinder Singh in the fourth over saw both openers dismissed. When the score was at 57/4, it appeared that the Philippines had the game in control.
It was then that Kirubasankar Ramamoorthy (56 off 43) and Ahmad Ramdoni (28 off 34) combined for an 83-run partnership when Ramamoorthy was bowled on the last ball of the 18th over, with Indonesia still requiring 17 off the last two overs. A tight over from Grant Russ (1/25 of 4) saw Indonesia needing 11 off the last over and it was Singh who was thrown the ball. Singh did the job for the Philippines ending up with his impressive figures (2/14 off 4) and more importantly ensuring a Philippines win by 3 runs.
The afternoon match saw Japan notch up their third win of the tournament by defeating Korea by six wickets.
The two teams faced off with Korea wanting to make amends for their defeat in the East Asia Cup last September, and were confident after winning the toss and choosing to bat.
The Korean top order all looked threatening with Raja Shoaib (15 off 15), Kim Dae Yeon (19 off 22) and Mudassir Iqbal (28 off 25) all contributing nicely. However, spin twins Makoto Taniyama (3/18 off 3) and Tsuyoshi Takada (2/23 off 4) bowled intelligently and backed up each other in the field, each taking high catches off the others bowling.
At 7/95 after 14 overs Korea were in danger of not batting their overs, but Muhammad Nadeem (34 off 18) came to the rescue once again to lift his side to 145/9 at the halfway stage.
No side had successfully chased down a target, so Japan needed to buck the trend and Taniyama (41 off 24) started in fine style before edging behind. Japan fell to 70/3 in the 10th over, before captain Masaomi Kobayashi (75 off 42) took control of the match. His partnership of 75 in 42 balls with Arata Ueda (22* off 18) won the game for Japan and included three sixes and lost balls in successive deliveries.
Kobayashi brought up his half-century off 29 balls, making the scores level in the process, before edging behind and leaving Tomoki Ota to crash the winning boundary with 16 balls to spare.