MUSCAT, Nov 17 – The national team’s perseverance and hard work has finally paid off as Oman reaches the platform of World Cricket League Division Two, getting even closer to the highest level of the game, said Oman coach Dulip Mendis after his team defeated a strong USA side in a thrilling WCL Division Three match in Al Amerat on Friday. “We have been training so hard for the last few months for this success. I would have been really sad if we had failed to achieve this (promotion to WCL 2). This moment has been a result of a great efforts by the team and the Board of Directors and we had to play hard and tough to be successful today,” added the coach.
Warning his wards against complacency, Mendis urged them not to take Uganda lightly in their last game on Sunday.
“This tournament is not over yet. We have a game against Uganda and I expect my team to go out and beat them as well so that we keep our slate clean and emerge undefeated champions.”
Captain Zeeshan Maqsood was delighted at his side staying undefeated in the tournament and thanked the team management for their support. “We were quite determined to do well in this tournament since we had, for the first time, the home advantage over other teams. I am glad we defeated a very good USA side today. The crowd support was amazing and it really boosted our morale which was already high after three wins out of three games,” added a smiling Maqsood who was all praise for vital contributions from Aqib Ilyas, Kaleemullah and Jatinder Singh.
Replying to a question about Oman’s victory against USA, Mendis said: “We had a good target to chase against a good side to beat on a good track in a good match to win (considering the fact that the winner would be through to WCL Division Two).
Talking about key moments and star performers of the game, Mendis said, “I think Kaleemullah bowled exceptionally well to give us those early wickets we so badly needed to put USA under pressure in a crucial game. All those players he dismissed cheaply were good batsmen and we could have been chasing a much bigger target. However, nothing can diminish the importance of a century and Aqib was brilliant today. A big innings was long overdue and Aqib delivered at the best possible time. I must say Jatinder and Zeeshan batted beautifully too and their partnerships took Oman close to the victory.”
Mendis said the promotion meant a great deal for the country.
“We have been up and down different levels of WCL championship. I am quite happy for the team to have reached WCL Division Two again and it’s a great news for the country. It shows we are on the right path and ready to move forward,” he said.
“Now that we have reached WCL 2, it is important that we stay there for a couple of years at least and feel the atmosphere, the type of cricket played and the level of competition there. Then we should be ready to climb the ladder again,” the coach added. Mendis said he was happy to be associated with Oman and hailed Oman Cricket’s Board of Directors for the continued support to the team.
“International teams will succeed if they have the proper backing and correct administration which we have in Oman. We have been lucky enough to have had it from day one. You can see they are all here today to cheer the team. Not only today, in fact they have been there with the team wherever it went and I have enjoyed their support throughout our journey in recent years. What more can you ask from a cricket board? They have been a big force behind me, giving the team all the backing it needed and all the facilities it required,” he concluded.