PHNOM PENH: It was a bitter pill to swallow for the national men’s cricket squad as they failed in their bid to defend the 50 overs gold medal in the 2023 SEA Games after going down to Cambodia, by 89 runs in the final, here, today.

Powered by several imported players from India and Pakistan, the hosts, who won the toss and opted for batting, hit 334 runs in 50 overs in the first innings, which saw Ram Raushan Sharan hit a century with 111 runs at the AZ Group Cricket Oval.

In the second innings, Malaysia’s team captain Ahmad Faiz Mohamad Noor scored beyond half a century with 78 runs but that was not enough to help the national team to chase Cambodia as they ended the match which lasted almost seven hours with 245 runs in 40.1 overs.

Commenting on today’s match, Ahmad Faiz was a bit gutted with today’s performance as they missed out the chance to retain gold for Malaysia

“A rather bad and very disappointing defeat, it can be said that our performance when bowling was quite bad to the point of giving up 334 runs to Cambodia, where we know their players performed well in the final.

“We did expect the performance of the Cambodian players because there are some imported players who have played at the highest level before, so credit to the hosts for showing a better performance than us,“ he told Bernama when met afterwards.

Asked whether his team would like to protest on the host ‘tactics’ of using imported players, the 35-year-old batsman said it was beyond their control.

As such, he vowed to make amends by performing much better and bat to gold in their second final , this time in the men’s T20 event against the Group B champion, slated to be held this Thursday.

Malaysia emerged as the first champion in 50-overs the last time cricket was contested way back in Kuala Lumpur 2017.

Last Thursday, the Malaysian side thumped Thailand by eight wickets to top Group A with four points in the men’s T20 action.

Meanwhile, Thailand pipped Indonesia by three wickets to bag bronze in the men’s 50-overs bronze medal match yesterday (May 6).

In the meantime, it was an unfortunate day for the women’s squad after losing by six wickets to Thailand in their second Group A tie of the T10 event.

Malaysia produced 39 runs in 10 overs while Thailand completed 40 runs in 8.5 overs to seal their first group win of the event. - Bernama

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