INCHEON, South Korea (AFP) – Bad weather helped cricket minnows at the Asian Games on Monday as South Korea won a rain-curtailed match to enter the knockout rounds and Kuwait progressed on a coin-toss.
The Koreans, taking part in their first big cricket competition, used their baseball-honed skills to outgun China by six runs in a game reduced to 10 overs a side.
Sung Dae-Sik, one of the nine baseball players in the Korean squad, smashed 33 off 16 balls with two sixes and as many boundaries to steer his team to 88-5 in the allotted overs.
Lee Hwan-hee, who plays regularly in the local cricket league, then grabbed two wickets for 20 runs in his two overs to restrict China to 82-7 at the Yeonhui cricket field.
South Korea will clash with favourites Sri Lanka in Tuesday’s quarter-final, while Kuwait play defending champions Bangladesh on Wednesday.
The home team’s captain Kim Kyung-Sik was delighted at the shortened game, which allowed his batsmen to strike freely.
Kim expected the hosts to give Sri Lanka a tough fight. “Although Sri Lanka are strong, they are playing at this ground for the first time. Something unexpected could happen.”
Sung, whose big hitting contributed to the win, hoped he would succeed against Sri Lanka too.
“Today I played as if it was my last day,” he said. “I think I could score sixes and fours because we had good teamwork. I will try to do the same against the Sri Lankans.”
Earlier Kuwait’s captain Mahmoud Bastaki correctly called “heads” to send Maldives crashing out of the tournament after their match was abandoned due to rain.