PAHANG pulled off a huge upset when they last year's joint champions Kelantan crashing out of the Malaysian Schools (MSSM) Under-18 cricket championships with an eight-wicket win in the semi-finals at the Johor Cricket Academy in Mutiara Rini, Johor Baru yesterday.
"It has given us new found confidence after beating Kelantan. We now aim to win our first ever Under-18 title," said a jubilant Pahang coach Abdul Hafiz Ishak.
He attributed Pahang's win to bowler Noor Afif Ahmad who grabbed five wickets for six runs and then displayed an equally impressive form with the bat to be on 15 not out when Pahang reached 42 for the loss of two wickets and pass Kelantan's paltry total of 41 all out.
In today's final, Pahang will take on Penang who took full advantage of their rain-interrupted semi-final against Kuala Lumpur to secure a one-wicket win.
Kuala Lumpur batted first and scored 119 runs built around skipper Zachary Eric Shunmugum's knock of 42 and a valuable 38 by Virandeep Singh for the loss of seven wickets in the mandatory 30 overs.
However, Penang were given a revised target of 112 runs for a win after their innings were reduced to 28 overs due to rain. Penang reached the required total in 26.3 overs despite bowler Pavandeep's brave attempt to keep KL in contention with a seven-wicket haul for 25 runs.
The Under-12 final will be between Johor and last year's joint third Negri Sembilan. In the semi-finals, Negri romped to a five-wicket win over Pahang, easily passing the East Coast side's total of 94 to reach 96 for five.
Johor established themselves as the new favourites after showing last year's joint champions Selangor the exit with a 34-run win - their second big scalp after knocking out last year's joint third KL in a group match.