Monday, December 05, 2022 | Jumada al-ula 10, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Saudi Arabia upset Bahrain to help Oman set up title clash with Canada

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Muscat: Unfancied Saudi Arabia caused the biggest upset of the Desert Cup T20I Series on Sunday night when they shocked Bahrain by nine wickets in the concluding game of the double round-robin format at the Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) grounds.


Saudi Arabia’s massive victory paved the way for hosts Oman to squeeze into the final despite their narrow defeat to Canada.


Canada’s three-wicket win ensured their spot in the final as they garnered a total of ten points to finish on top of the table.


Oman’s defeat left them with six points and Bahrain’s loss meant both the teams finished with six points each. However, the hosts had a better net run-rate of +2.135 as compared to -1.044 of Bahrain to scrape through and set up a title clash with Canada.


Saudi Arabia had lost all their previous matches and, Bahrain, which was the only team to defeat table-toppers Canada, was expected to have it easy.


However, Bahrain, after winning the toss elected to bat, a decision that they would regret later. Saudi Arabia restricted the much-experienced rivals to just 112/9 with half the team out back in pavilion inside the powerplay at 32/5. Haider Ali’s 41 was the only notable score as Saudi Arabia’s bowlers wreaked havoc.


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Atif-Ur-Rehman with 3/19 was the most successful bowler while Ishtiaq Ahmed, Usman Najeeb and Zain Ul Abidin picked two wickets each.


In reply, Saudi opening batter Faisal Khan smashed an unbeaten 81 off just 32 balls, which included nine boundaries and six maximums to power them to a memorable win. Abdul Waheed Ghaffar’s unbeaten 20 saw the Saudis race to win in just 10.5 overs finishing at 115/1.


Earlier, Oman lost to Canada in another exciting game with the leaders recording a three-wicket win with a ball to spare.


The two teams will face-off in the final on Monday night.


Canada put Oman to bat first and last match centurion and skipper Zeeshan Maqsood continued his rich vein of form by hitting a half-century. His 54 came of 34 balls and along with opener Jatinder Singh shared a crucial stand of 93 runs for the third wicket in nine overs. Jatinder missed his half-century with his 47 coming off 37 deliveries.


Sandeep Goud’s late charge fetched 26 off 14 that included three sixes helped Oman end their innings with 169/7.


Canada’s chase revolved around Aaron Johnson as the opener hammered 81 off 41 balls, an innings that included 11 boundaries and five maximums.


Oman fought back with Rafiullah and Kaleemullah picking three wickets each and Canada needed 31 in 18 balls after the fall of Harsh Thaker (24).


Oman bowlers kept it tight to leave Canada to score 8 runs to win off the last over of Kaleemullah. Dilon Heylinger and Nikhil Dutta forged an unbeaten stand to take their side to win with a ball to spare. Heylinger was unbeaten on 22 and Dutta on 17.


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