LAST year's joint champions Kelantan and Selangor, together with Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Sabah marched into the second round of the Malaysian Schools (MSSM) Under-18 cricket championships in Johor Baru yesterday.
However, the Johor Under-12 team stole limelight on the last day of the preliminary round matches with a crushing 284 run defeat of last year's joint third Kuala Lumpur in their final Group H match at the UTM grounds.
Johor's innings included 131 by number three batsman Muhammad Norebby Ilham Asoha who displayed flawless batting before he was clean bowled by Cyprian Thambi.
Another Johor batsman Solihin Rusli missed scoring a century when the homesters closed their innings after 25 overs when he was on 90 not out. The duo were assisted by Hazim Aqil Yunus, who made 38 before being run out. In reply KL could only manage a paltry 33 all out in only 6.5 overs.
Johor topped their group with an unbeaten record having beaten Sarawak by 148 runs in their first match before a 97-run victory over Penang.
"We have never won the Under-12 title. Now that we are in the quarter-finals we are confident of going further. The massive win over KL is a big boost to the team," said Johor Education Department's development and human resource head Shaharudin Sharif.
Apart from Johor, the teams that advanced to the second round were Penang, Selangor, Sabah, Pahang, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Kelantan.
Meanwhile, Penang registered their third nine-wicket win in Group C -- this time over Perak to top their group. In their earlier matches, Penang beat Perlis and Malacca by similar scorelines.
Selangor advanced after beating Pahang by five wickets over Pahang in their final Group B match. Despite the defeat the East Coast side also advanced to the second round.