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Army December 10, 2009
By Sgt Brian Hartigan
THE Australian Army was the reigning
champion of the International Defence
Cricket Challenge but that meant noth-
ing to some minnows of the game in
this year's final in Canberra.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force
was "surprised and delighted" to beat
Australian Army by 65 runs at Manuka
Oval on November 26.
Sent in to bat, the Malaysian side
set about building a total worthy of any
international 50-over game.
In what proved to be a decisive
mistake, Army dropped a catch off the
Malaysians' best batsman early in the
game, allowing Suharril to contribute
123 runs to the eventual total of 7-313.
Australian Army team skipper Capt
Matt Suen said the drop at second slip
early on was an unfortunate mistake that
He said the Manuka pitch was slow
and flat for the final and he had thought
his side might get the better conditions in
the afternoon session, so he had decided
to give the Malaysians the first shot with
Malaysia got off to a shaky start, los-
ing both openers for less than 20 runs
But this only opened the floodgates
for the visitors' run rate, with Suharril
sending the ball to the boundary 13 times
on his way to 123 off 122 balls.
Reflective of the spirit of the game
was played in, Suharril received hand-
shakes and back pats from most of the
Army team when he was eventually dis-
missed -- caught by the Aussie skipper
off the bowling of Cpl Don Mander.
However, the crowd, comprised
mainly of the other players from the
tournament, were vocally behind the
"Both sides worked hard out there
today, but, of course, it was all played in
the best cricketing spirit," Capt Suen said.
"Being the defending champions, the
crowd's reaction was bound to happen. It
was all good fun, though."
Unfortunately, after hot, humid condi-
tions for most of the day, rain brought the
game to a premature end in the 33rd over
of Army's innings.
With the Aussies on 6-164, requiring
another 150 runs off 97 balls, the pro-
spective result was unquestionable.
"Chasing 313 was always a pretty big
task," Capt Suen said.
"So, while we would like to have
had a crack at finishing it, we certainly
weren't expecting to be 6-164 at this
stage. Well done to them."
Tournament director Lt-Col James
Brownlie said it was disappointing the
final had to end because of the weath-
er but, unfortunately for Army, the
Malaysians had obviously done enough
by then to deserve their victory.
"However, I'm not so sure today was
a true reflection of our Australian Army
team's ability -- it's just the Malaysians
played a superior brand of cricket today,"
"I think if this was played again next
week, it might be a different result."
Lt-Col Brownlie said the Malaysians
had "added a whole different flavour to
things -- far beyond our expectations".
Malaysia's team management said
they were "surprised and delighted" to
win the tournament.
"Malaysia is not a cricket-playing
nation and this is a very new team, so we
did not expect to win this," they said.
"We look up to New Zealand and
especially Australia as cricket-playing
nations and we came here to learn. So
to beat the icons of the game is fantastic
Capt Suen had nothing but praise for
his team, despite the disappointment.
"Our boys toiled really well in the
field, but I can't say anyone in particular
really stood out today. Each individual
stood up as a team player."
its final ball Ins and outs: Sgt Martin
Blackman is caught behind in
the IDCC final against Malaysia
and Cpl Don Mander (below)
does his bit with the ball.
Photos by Sgt Brian Hartigan
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