Now, Saudi Arabia and China may not be two countries that you associate with international cricket but the sport does have a burgeoning presence in both nations.
China is even seen as the biggest market outside the US for the ICC to tap into and harness both the mass population and financial bulk of the country in developing the game outside of the major territories.
As for Saudi Arabia, they may be behind the likes of UAE and Oman as regional heavyweights but they are competitive across the Gulf.
And it seems the Middle East outfit is some way ahead of China, despite the latter’s grossed potential.
That is a guarantee when you look at Saturday’s ICC World Cricket League Asia Region Division One match between the two sides which ended up with the Saudi winning by 390-runs.
Such a convincing win occurs in Test cricket, of course, where you can amass two mammoth totals and skittle out your opposition twice round, but this was a 50-over affair.
That’s right, across each side’s 50-overs, Saudi Arabia were 390-runs better off than their opponents at Chang Mai in Thailand.
The Saudi’s posted 418 all-out in a nice round completion of their 50-overs which is the same as the seventh highest total in ODI history.
Now, neither side has ODI status so these scores will not end up in the record books, but the numbers just get more and more intriguing.
Mohammad Afzal was the star with the bat for the Saudis, hitting 120 from 100 balls, but it was captain Shoaib Ali who really upped the ante with 91 from 41 balls.
And while China’s bowlers were dispatched to all parts, seamer Feng Mu did manage to take a five-for, ending his ten overs with figures of 5-89. Mu went for 16 runs more than the most expensive five-wicket haul in ODI cricket, that of Scotland’s Gordan Goudie who took 5-73 against Australia back in August 2009.
The Chinese were even more miserable with the bat, bowled out for just 28 runs with only Zhang Peng (6*), Zhuang Zelin (6) and Lu Cangcang (3) getting off the mark.
Not only that, opening duo Cangcang and Zelin moved to 20-0 before the latter departed, meaning that the ten wickets fell for just eight runs.
Imrul Haq (3-8), Imran Arif (3-2) and Shahbaz Rasheed (3-5) did the damage with the ball, with Rasheed’s wickets coming in the form of a hat-trick.
Jiang Shuyao was the only man to not perish as he was absent hurt in the China reply. Their 28 all-out is seven runs worse off than Zimbabwe’s record low in full-status ODI cricket.
You are unlikely to see such a remarkable scorecard as this too often and we may have to wait until the two nations face of in ping-pong or badminton for a reverse in scorelines.
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