Singapore finished the 2020 ACC Eastern Region T20 unbeaten and topped the league to make it to the Asia Cup T20 Qualifier.
Cricket in Singapore dates back to 1837 and has remained a reasonably popular sport since then. In the late 1990s, they hosted three triangular series, featuring seven Full Members but not the host nation.
Singapore themselves had become an ICC Associate Member in 1974, and were one of the founding members of the ACC, in 1983. While their best rank in the ICC Trophy has been 14th, they have fared better in Twenty20 cricket. They finished eighth in the 2022 T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Before that, however, they had made it to this year’s Asia Cup Qualifier by topping the league table at the 2020 ACC Eastern Region T20, in Bangkok. The tournament was reduced to five teams after China, Myanmar, and Bhutan all withdrew due to COVID-19, and was played in round-robin format.
In their first match, Singapore managed only 139-7, but the bowlers, led by Karthikeyan Subramanian (3-27), bowled out Thailand for 96. Tim David, easily the greatest cricketer to come from the nation, then slammed a 32-ball unbeaten 92 to help Singapore post 239-3. This time Anantha Krishna took 4-28 as Malaysia capitulated to 111.
Against Hong Kong, the other strong team in the league, Singapore got 168-5, David top-scoring with a 42-ball 58. Three Singapore bowlers then took two wickets apiece to restrict Hong Kong to 152-8. A washout against Nepal helped Singapore finish unbeaten and qualify as champions.
Till date, Singapore have played 25 T20Is, winning 11 and losing the rest. The overall record has been marred by their performance since the global lockdown: during this phase, they have won two and lost eight matches. One key factor has been the absence of David, whose numbers – 558 runs at a strike rate of 159 – helped him evolve into one of the most sought-after cricketers in the franchise-based leagues around the world.
Chandramohan is one of only two cricketers (Janak Prakash being the other) to feature in every T20I Singapore have played. Last month, he became the first – and till date, only – Singapore batter to score a men’s T20I hundred when he slammed 100 in 52 balls against Papua New Guinea. His 701 runs are the most for Singapore.
Even at 41, Singapore captain Amjad Mahboob continues to impress with his seam bowling, especially in the death overs. His 33 wickets are the most for the country, and he will have a major role to play if they are to qualify for the main stage.
Singapore’s schedule (all matches at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground Turf 1, Muscat):
August 20, vs Hong Kong (1930 local time)
August 23, vs UAE (1930 local time)
August 24, vs Kuwait (1630 local time)