Thinley Namgay   

Bhutan’s cricket team lost to Malaysia by nine wickets in the final of T20 Quadrangular Series 2022 in Malaysia yesterday.

Bhutan made 82/10 in 19.1 overs. However, the opponent cruised to an easy 84/1 in just 6.3 overs.

Winning four consecutive games, Bhutan booked its place in the final. However, it lost to Malaysia three times in this tournament. Malaysia defeated Bhutan by 39 runs and 155 runs on July 3 and 2, respectively.

Hosts Malaysia remained unbeaten throughout the tournament. The team won all its seven games played.

Bhutan’s captain Jigme Singye said: “We were outplayed by the host in the finals yesterday and our vice-captain Thinley Jamtsho was the only one who batted really well as per the plan. From this tournament, there are so many positive things we could take home.”

Jigme Singye said beating the Maldives and Thailand two times each in this tournament was historic and sending a competitive vibe to the host in the second league game showed Bhutan was capable.

He said that despite no international cricket for Bhutan in the last three years, playing this tournament and reaching the finals gave a very good perspective on what Bhutan Cricket could achieve given the proper support from the right stakeholders.

“Our new coach Trishane Nonis has been a huge factor in bringing great change in the unit, developing our players to their right potential, and providing a great sense of game plans and knowledge to the players,” Jigme Singye said.

Bhutan Cricket’s chief executive officer Damber S Gurung said that the players have shown hard work, determination, and commitment to the game in the last 10 days.

He said that returning to international cricket after almost three years, two defeats at the start and four wins in a row, and making it to the final was incredible.  “This is what we want and this is how we should continue.”

Damber S Gurung said that Bhutan started at number 76 in the world rankings for T20 internationals and finished the tournament at number 58. “We are proud of the team’s overall performance and we will come strong again at the second edition of the QSeries next year in Thailand.”

This is the second international final for Bhutan after winning the Asian Cricket Council’s T20 Men’s Eastern Regional tournament against Thailand in the final by three runs  in 2018.

The senior-most player on the team, Manoj Adhikari said: “We were playing a team ranked way higher than us and we were just outplayed in the finals. We fell a little short yesterday but we are bringing back all the positive things from this tournament.”

“We are all happy with what we have achieved,” he said.

A 35-year-old Manoj Adhikari said that lots of sacrifices were made by his mates for this tournament.  “We trained hard in Gelephu where the boys stayed away from families for three months and office-goers like us made it every alternative weekend for practice.”

He said that he left the job to be with the team and some decided to drop out of their schools to prepare for this tournament.

The 17-member squad, including three officials, will arrive in the country today.