Sunday Oct 17, 2021
DUBAI: Oman were off to a flying start in the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday with a 10-wicket rout of debutants Papua New Guinea.
Zeeshan Maqsood’s men ticked all the boxes, with their bowling, catching and batting giving the home fans plenty to cheer about at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground.
Maqsood himself took four wickets to help restrict the opposition to 129/9, before half-centuries for openers Jatinder Singh and Aaqib Ilyas eased them past the target in 13.4 overs.
Not much went PNG’s way after they found themselves 0/2 inside the first two overs, with captain Assad Vala’s fifty the only highlight for them on a difficult day.
The opening pair of Jatinder and Ilyas barely looked under pressure in the chase. They were solid rather than flashy during the Powerplay, with the first six coming only in the eighth over, off the bat of Ilyas.
Jatinder, who was strong with the reverse sweep all day, was the first to bring up his fifty, off 33 balls. Getting to face a free hit, he got to the landmark with a six over long-on and brought out his trademark celebration.
Ilyas, who had been caught off a no-ball, got to his half-century in 43 balls, before Jatinder sealed the game with a final six.
Earlier, put in, PNG overcame a disastrous start where they were 0/2, thanks to a national record third-wicket stand of 81 off 60 balls between captain Vala and Charles Amini. Vala was the top scorer of the PNG innings, striking an entertaining 43-ball 56.
However, the middle order couldn’t capitalise, as Maqsood ran through the line-up with three wickets in his second over.
PNG lost both openers in the first two overs of the match with Oman's new-ball pair of Bilal Khan and Kaleemullah causing havoc. Bilal took the first wicket of the tournament when he got the ball to shape in to Tony Ura, who edged onto his stumps. The next over, Kaleemullah foxed Lega Siaka with his outswing, before a straighter one was chopped onto the stumps.
Amini and Vala, though, remained unperturbed and kept up the attack. Amini was the aggressor early on in the stand, getting going with a couple of boundaries.
The partnership had guided the World Cup debutants to 70 at the halfway mark when a direct hit from Mohammad Nadeem broke the stand. Amini, who had set off for a single from the non-striker’s end, couldn’t make it back in time as Nadeem did a smart bit of work off his own bowling.
Vala, who needed medical attention following a collision with the bowler, brought up a fine fifty with a straight six. However, he fell looking to up the ante, as Jatinder ran in from long-on to take a good high catch.
The loss of Vala in the 15th over with the team score at 102 triggered a collapse. The middle and lower order could only add 27 more, even as the Oman bowlers were aided by excellent fielding.
Maqsood spun the momentum his team’s way, by sending back Norman Vanua, Sese Bau and Kiplin Doriga in the same over. Excellent work by Nadeem, who held his balance in the deep to take a high catch of Damien Ravu, gave the skipper his fourth wicket. He finished with 4/20.
Oman had the home advantage in just their second T20 World Cup and Maqsood believed the spinners in the team could do the trick at Al Amerat ground.
"The pitch looks dry and we have spin bowlers with us," Maqsood said at the toss of the first round match.
"We have prepared really well and are looking to give our best and qualify for the next round."
PNG captain Assad Vala was confident of a good showing from his team that make their first ever appearance in a World Cup.
"I would have bowled first as well. The preparation has been good and we need to use our flair and give everything we have got," said Vala.
"We want to play the PNG way, which you hopefully will see soon. We have a good all-round team."
The seventh edition of the tournament is being staged by Oman and the United Arab Emirates with the Board of Control for Cricket in India playing hosts.
Oman next take on Bangladesh on Tuesday, October 19, while PNG face Scotland in the first match the same day.
The top two teams from this group B will advance into the Super 12 stage, starting October 23, to meet the heavyweights.
Oman: Jatinder Singh, Khawar Ali, Aqib Ilyas, Zeeshan Maqsood (capt), Naseem Khushi (wk), Prajapathi, Mohammad Nadeem, Ayan Khan, Sandeep Goud, Kaleemullah, Bilal Khan
Papua New Guinea: Tony Ura, Assad Vala (capt), Charles Amini, Lega Siaka, Norman Vanua, Sese Bau, Simon Atai, Kiplin Doriga (wk), Nosaina Pokana, Damien Ravu, Kabua Morea
Umpires: Chris Gaffaney (NZL), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)