Sultanate see off USA by four wickets to post fourth straight win in WCL Division 3
Oman have clinched a place in the World Cricket League (WCL) Division 2 after overcoming USA by four wickets in a tense WCL Division III match at Oman Cricket’s Amerat Grounds on Friday.
Aqib Ilyas’ timely knock of 100 runs empowered Oman to overhaul the target of 214 set by USA with three balls to spare. The 122-ball century, which included 10 boundaries and a six, earned Ilyas the man-of-the-match award in the encounter between the top teams in the tournament in Oman.
The Sultanate team has won its four matches so far in the first ever ICC tournament to be held in the country. With only one match left against Uganda, Oman are on top of the table with eight points.
USA are second with six points and have to win the last match against Singapore to seal the second spot available for the WCL Division 2 from the tournament.
Oman Cricket chairman Kanak Khimji was elated with the result.
“This is a perfect National Day gift for the Sultanate. Oman have kept their cool to win the tight match. Congratulations to the Oman players and the coaching staff,” Kanak Khimji told Oman Daily Observer.
Oman coach Duleep Mendis was relieved after the close win.
“The tournament already saw some close victories for us. But this one is special because it came against a top opposition like the USA.”
“Our players rose to the occasion and especially Aqib with that great hundred. This is a good performance by the side and very happy to secure the qualification to the WCL Division 2,” the Sri Lankan coach said.
Oman Cricket Board member Pankaj Khimji also shared his joy.
“Brilliant from our team. It is a proud moment for the Sultanate as this comes at the time of National Day celebrations.”
“We have made our mark in the 50-over format too after our World Twenty20 qualification in Dharamshala, India in 2016. With this win, we have ensured our place in the WCL Division 2 with four wins in four matches,” Pankaj said.
Earlier, Kaleemullah took three wickets for 43 as USA were restricted to 213 for 8 wickets in 50 overs. TK Patel’s 54 runs and Jannissar Khan’s 53 helped USA to post the decent score.
USA were struggling at 3-29 and 4-70 in the 29th over with the wicket of in-form batsman Aaron Jone, who was stumped by Oman wicketkeeper Suraj Kumar off the bowling of Zeeshan Maqsood.
In reply, Oman lost Twinkle Bhandari for 12 early in the innings. But Jatinder Singh (42) and Aqib steadied the innings. Jatinder was out when the Oman score reached 115.
Then captain Zeeshan Maqsood gave good company to Aqib with a good knock of 32 and ensured safety for Oman.
Zeeshan’s dismissal at 32 runs with the team score at 199 put some pressure on the new batsmen.
Oman lost some quick wickets with Sufyan Mahmood (6), Fayyaz Butt (2 – run out) falling to the USA pressure.
However, Nester Dhamba (6) hit a crucial boundary in the last over to seal the match for the hosts.
KENYA PREVAIL IN HIGH-SCORING GAME
In the other match of the day at Amerat Grounds, Kenya, who scored 324 for 9 — the highest total so far in the tournament — survived a valiant fightback by Singapore. The Singapore side fell short by 12 runs, ending their innings at 312 with three balls to go.
The Kenyan innings was powered by NM Odhiambo’s 80 runs and NK Patel (68), RR Patel (52) and DM Gondaria’s 42 runs.
In reply, Singapore were in the hunt till the last over. AE Paraam hit 85 with support from R Gaznavi (48).
Nelson Odhiambo became the man of the match for his brilliant knock.