MUSCAT: In a battle of brilliant bowlers, Oman juniors displayed nerves of steel against the run of play, standing like a rock to thwart a resurgent UAE and lift the ACC Western Region Under-16 T20 Championship undefeated on their home turf in Al Amerat on Tuesday.
With wickets falling at regular intervals in pursuit of only 88 runs, Arjun Suresh (22), Kuttiraja (20) and finally Bilal Asim (10 not out) defied UAE bowlers to seal a scintillating one-wicket win for Oman, who remained undefeated throughout the eight-nation tournament.
“You can’t expect a better contest for the title. Our boys fought like champions and came up trumps. It was a low-scoring final but both the teams fought hard for the glory. I am glad we won the title and won it like a true champion side,” said Oman coach Syed Tariq Hussain.
Sultanate’s Red Brigade, seen as the best bowling side of the tournament, lived up to their reputation and skittled UAE out for only 87 in 29 overs. Only Aayan Afzal showed some resistance with a fighting 27 against a rampaging Oman attack led by Ayman Ayaz who picked up 3 for 11. Arjun Suresh and Siddh Mehta bowled well too, taking two wickets each.
The target of 88 looked like a mountain to climb after Oman were reduced to 12 for 4 in 6 overs with four of their top five batsmen dismissed without scoring.
Champion sides never say die till they can fight and Oman fought till the very end. Building small partnerships, stuttering and stumbling before standing up to fight again, Oman pipped UAE at the post with the last pair, crossing the line in the penultimate over to claim the championship.
While Arjun Suresh withstood the initial onslaught, scoring 22, Kuttiraja Karuthapandian (20) and Bilal Asim (10 not out) kept Oman in the fray till they got over the line. Zayed Ali Khan (2 off 8) gave Asim good company as the duo constructed a match-winning 12-run partnership for the last wicket.
Adithya Shetty was UAE’s most successful bowler, taking 5 for 15 while Jas Gayani bagged 3 for 16.
Brief scores: UAE 87 all out in 29 overs (Aayan Afzal 27 – 1×4, Adithya Shetty 11. Ayman Ayaz 3-11, Arjun Suresh 2-12, Siddh Mehta 2-19, Zayed Ali Khan 2-22) lost to Oman 88 for 9 in 33.3 overs (Arjun Suresh 22 – 2×4, Kuttiraja Karuthapandian 20 – 3×4, Bilal Asim 10 not out. Adithya Shetty 5-15, Jash Giyanani 3-16) by one wicket.