Opening the Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC) tournament of the year, the national cricket team humbled China by nine wickets at the ongoing ACC Men’s T20 Eastern region championship in Thailand yesterday.

Securing the target of 74 runs in 10.1 overs, Bhutan recorded a comfortable win by 9 wickets to become the first match-winner of the ACC tournament 2018. The two played for the second time in two consecutive years. China suffered two consecutive losses to Bhutan.

China won the toss and elected to bat first. The decision favored Bhutan’s game plan to field first and to keep the run target below 60, according to team officials. However, China managed to stretch the target to 74 runs.

At the end of first innings, China secured 73 runs in 19.4 overs.

In the nine wickets win thriller, Captain Jigme Singye won 31 runs from 25 balls and batsman Suprit Pradhan won 32 runs from 33 balls. The combined effort of the two sealed the match in favor of Bhutan to start the campaign with a win.

The match saw vice-captain, Thinley Jamtsho picking up two wickets in the final over that bowled out China for 73 runs. He brought down three wickets with 14 balls and won the man of the match award.

He said the award was unexpected. “It would be the happiest moment if we win the championship,” Thinley Jamtsho said.

Coach Dumber Gurung said the team played the match as planned. “It’s the beginning for us. Our mission would end after winning the championship.”

The match saw Bhutan recording a run rate of 7.28 against China’s run rate of 3.71 per over. Bhutan had to play 10 overs to reach the target of 74 runs while China secured 73 runs in 19.4 overs.

Bhutan will play Thailand in the second match that defeated Myanmar on the opening day. Bhutan played Thailand last year in the same championship.

Dumber Gurung said the win has helped the team’s confidence. “It’s a must-win game and we have to be a better team. We are expecting a good match.”

With a win each, Bhutan and Thailand are on the top of the table. Four teams China, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Thailand are taking part in the championship. The top teams will play the final on February 25.

Bhutan will face Thailand today and Myanmar on February 24 in the league round.