Oman 109/3 (Ilyas 45, Kaleem 27, Raza 1-23) defeated UAE 108/9 (Usman 27, Mustafa 24, Butt 3-16) by 7 wickets with 10 balls remaining.
A superlative performance from Oman’s trio of fast bowlers, coupled with a lumbering effort in the field and costly dropped catches by UAE saw the former cruise to a comfortable seven wicket win on Day 1 of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Oman won the toss and elected to bowl first under lights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The die was cast in the first over itself when Aqib Ilyas took a blinder at point to dismiss Ashfaq Ahmed off Bilal Khan. Chirag Suri looked in good touch, caressing Khan for a couple of beautiful drives in the third, before miscuing a flick to mid-on. UAE 29-3 off 5 overs.
A laboured 30-run partnership between Rohan Mustafa and Rameez Shahzad took the Emiratis to 55-3 off 11 before Pentangular hat-trick hero Khawar Ali castled Shahzad with a leg-spinning yorker.
From here it was all Oman, as Bilal, Fayyaz Butt, and Mohammed Nadeem executed their slower-balls to perfection inducing a number of catches in the deep.
Emerging Cricket predicted that Oman would restrict teams to sub-par totals even on the flat pitches of the Emirates. Et voila.
UAE had a sniff early on when Khawar Ali skied one off Junaid Siddique in the first over. Oman would have been 7-2 had Usman Waheed not put down Jatinder Singh at deep square leg.
From here on in, there was little to write home about for the UAE. A required run-rate of 5.45 meant that Oman’s batsmen could knock the ball around at a run-a-ball and still win comfortably.
And win comfortably they did, captain Maqsood finishing the game with a towering six off square fine leg. Aqib Ilyas finished on a sedate 45* off 51 balls and Amir Kaleem, batting at four, also scored 27 off 19.
All in all a worrying performance from the UAE – they were injudicious with their shot selections, and not particularly agile in the field. There is time for Dougie Brown and Ahmed Raza to turn the tables, but they will need to beat Ireland in their next match to have any chance of finishing top of the table.
Oman never really seemed to get out of second gear. They would no doubt have been relieved to get off the mark with a win against one of the (pre-scandal) pre-tournament favourites and will be tough for Hong Kong to dislodge when the two sides meet on Monday.