Oman thrash UAE for a per­fect start in ICC tour­ney

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Muscat - Mid­dle or­der main­stay Aqib Ilyas struck a flu­ent 80 not out as hosts Oman started an­other in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ment with an em­phatic win, this time beat­ing UAE by 5 wick­ets in the open­ing game of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 at its grassy Ground 1 in Amerat on Sun­day.

Oman first bowled bril­liantly to dis­miss UAE for 170 - left-arm fast bowler Bi­lal Khan’s three­wicket open­ing burst tak­ing the life out of the tourists’ con­fi­dence to fight, fol­lowed by cap­tain Zee­shan Maq­sood’s miserly spell that ac­counted for four bats­men. The host na­tion then chased down the tar­get in the 38th over thanks to bril­liant bat­ting by Aqib Ilyas and opener Jatin­der Singh who were in­volved in a 112-run third wicket part­ner­ship that lit­er­ally sealed the game for Oman. Ilyas who ex­hib­ited a full range of shots, mix­ing cau­tion with ag­gres­sion, was ad­judged player of the match for his un­beaten knock.

Coach Duleep Mendis was happy that his boys made a good start to the se­ries but wanted them to come harder at Namibia in their next game.

“You have to be happy af­ter beat­ing UAE though they were miss­ing some of their play­ers. Our boys en­joy playing at home and you could see that. They bowled bril­liantly and did not al­low UAE to come back into the game. How­ever, I would like to see im­prove­ment in our field­ing in the next games and we are go­ing to work on this in the two days we have be­fore we take on Namibia on Wed­nes­day,” he said.

The Oman coach said he ex­pected a tougher game against

Namibia. “The boys are in good touch and we are look­ing for­ward to the game against Namibia which has beaten us a few times and lost to us too. We will cer­tainly have to play bet­ter to beat them and this win against UAE has put us in the right frame of mind to do that,” Mendis added.

Khan’s open­ing burst re­duced UAE to 27 for 4 in the first ten overs, set­ting the tone for an ar­du­ous strug­gle against Oman’s po­tent pace and spin at­tack. Af­ter fast bowler Kaleemul­lah had opener Vri­itya Aravind caught be­hind for 1, Khan’s pace and swing did not al­low UAE bats­men any breath­ing space to set­tle down, send­ing opener Chi­rag Suri (1), Dar­ius D’Silva (4) and Basil Hameed (8) back to the pav­il­ion one af­ter the other.

Cap­tain Maq­sood made life even more dif­fi­cult for the tourists, ty­ing them in knots with his left-arm spin that ei­ther kept them puz­zled or un­der pres­sure for most of the time.

Only Muhammed Us­man ap­peared to read him well and re­sponded with a de­fi­ant 68 off 95, hit­ting eight bound­aries and a six in his knock that lent UAE score some cred­i­bil­ity as they reached 170 be­fore be­ing dis­missed in the 48th over.

In the next game, UAE will take on Namibia on Mon­day while Oman will play Namibia on Wed­nes­day af­ter Tues­day’s rest day.

Brief Scores: UAE 170 all out in 47.1 overs (Muhammed Us­man 68, Ro­han Mustafa 24, Wa­heed Ahmed 23; Zee­shan Maq­sood 4-15, Bi­lal Khan 3-38) lost to Oman 171 for 5 in 37.3 overs (Aqib Ilyas 80 not out, Jatin­der Singh 62; Muhammed Ju­naid Sid­diqui 2-32, Ahmed Raza 237) by 5 wick­ets.

(Sup­plied pho­tos)

Oman opener Jatin­der Singh hits a four

Oman’s Aqib Ilyas (right) re­ceives player of the match award from match ref­eree Mo­hammed Javed Ma­lik

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