MUSCAT: In a nail-biting game, Oman went down fighting to Netherlands by four runs in its final 2021 ICC T20 World Cup warm-up match at the ICC Global Cricket Academy Grounds in Dubai on Thursday.
Asked to bat first after losing the toss, Netherlands scored a challenging 165 for the loss of four wickets in their allotted 20 overs, with Stephan Myburgh top-scoring with 43, followed by a quickfire 40 off 28 balls by Dutch skipper Ben Cooper and 37 runs in 21 balls by Colin Ackermann. Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah and captain Zeeshan Maqsood chipped in with a wicket apiece for Oman.
In reply, Oman started badly, losing two wickets within the first two overs with only one run on the board. Opener Aqib Ilyas led from the front, scoring a majestic 78 off 48 balls, studded with six 6s and six boundaries before he was run out. Aqib shared a 99-run partnership with Mohammad Nadeem (29 off 28 balls) for the third wicket.
Needing 11 off the last over bowled by Tim van der Gugten, Oman could only muster six runs. A rearguard action by Naseem Khushi (19 off 9) failed to get Oman across the line as they ended at 161-8.
In his comments, Duleep Mendis, Oman head coach and Chief Development Officer of Oman Cricket, said: “Though we lost the thriller to Netherlands, we are extremely proud of the impressive show by the Oman team in the warm-up games in the run-up to the T20 World Cup. The team has done exceptionally well over the past two years, and we are confident of a good show, in front of our home ground in Oman. This is all adding to the immense pride for Oman to be the co-host of the 2021 T20 Men’s World Cup.”
This was the second win for the Netherlands in the warm-up games, while Oman had won their first match against Namibia on Monday.
The match against Netherlands was the last warm-up match prior to Oman’s opening T20 World Cup clash against Papua New Guinea in the first Round Group B game on October 17. The T20 World Cup opener on Sunday begins at 2pm and will be followed by the second game between Bangladesh and Scotland at 6pm the same day.
In Abu Dhabi, Ireland fine-tuned their preparations for Round 1 by clinching a victory against Bangladesh. Batting first, they posted a total of 177/3 on the board, and then bowled Bangladesh out for 144, which will do their confidence a world of good leading into the tournament.
In another fixture in Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka clinched their second win in the warm-ups by registering a relatively comfortable victory against Papua New Guinea. The Lankans put up a score of 162/5 on the board and then managed to restrict PNG to 123/7 in their 20 overs.
The second warm-up fixture of the day in Dubai between Scotland and Namibia was a run-fest. Batting first, Scotland put up a massive total of 203/7 on the board. Namibia came up with a valiant effort while chasing, scoring 184/5 in their 20 overs, falling short by 19 runs.