Oman score back to back wins against Kenya to finish fifth

MUSCAT: With a couple of consolation wins against Kenya on the last two days of its trip, Oman avoided the ignominy of finishing last in the six-team WCL Division Two tournament in Namibia. Having lost the opportunities to win promotion as well as participate in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers by finishing as one of the top two teams, Oman could not prevent relegation to WCL Division Three but delivered two parting shots against Kenya good enough to convince everyone why it was among the fancied sides to play at a higher level. Smarting from two consecutive defeats, Kenya can now be called upon to testify what could have been had Oman hit the form a little earlier in the tournament.
Playing for the fifth place, Oman won the game by five wickets to ensure it did not return home empty handed. Two of its fast bowlers Bilal Khan and Kaleemullah, with bagful of wickets, impressed everyone and were rightly picked by Cricinfo in its WCL Division Two Dream Team. Bilal in particular was outstanding throughout the tournament, taking 17 wickets at 10.76 to be declared the joint highest wicket-taker along with Nepal’s S Lamichchane. Kaleemullah, extracting considerable movement and bounce, bagged a total of 10 wickets.
Opting to field first, Omanput the Kenyans under the mat for the second successive day, reducing the African side to 105 for 5 and then 148 for 7. However, a 91-run eighth-wickets partnership beween S Nogoche (66 off 68) and N Odhiambo (42 off 41) helped Kenya to a healthy total of 253 before getting all out in 49.5 overs. R Patel was the other notable scorer with 31 off 46.
Bilal Khan was once again brilliant with the ball, taking 5 for 40 while Khawar Ali claimed 3 for 48.
Oman overhauled the target with three overs to spare, losing only wickets in the process. Khawar Ali played another splendid knock, scoring an unbeaten 112 off 142. Vaibhav Wategaonkar (67 and 65), Zeeshan Maqsood (33 off 23) and Aya Lalcheta (28 off 36) were the other leading scorers.
A day earlier, Oman, chasing a rain-curtailed target of 183 in 42 overs after Kenya was dismissed for 200, won the game with 2 wickets and 5 balls remaining.
Kaleemullah played the leading role in Kenyan collapse, taking 3 for 25 while pacers Ahmed Fayyaz Butt (2 for 41) and Bilal Khan (2 for 49) were equally impressive.
Zeeshan Maqsood led the batting honours for Oman, topscoring with 58 off 33. Jay Odedara (23 not out off 36), Jatinder Singh (22 off 43) and Muhammed Nadeem (20 off 33) were the other notable scorers. H Varaiya took 3 for 28 for Ken