Game 5: Canada vs. Oman WCL2 match report

Oman 285/7 off 50.0 overs (Maqsood 109, Ilyas 86, Eranga 3/57) defeated Canada 186 off 43.2 (Kumar 57, Fayyaz 3/29, Nadeem 2/13) by 99 runs.

While Namibia and the USA played out a heartstopping last-over thriller at Wanderers, next door at Affies, Oman cruised to an easy 99-run victory. A good team bowling effort backed up a challenging target – set after being sent in by Canada skipper Davy Jacobs – which the men from the Gulf achieved on the back of a 126-run partnership between Aqib Ilyas (86) and captain Zeeshan Maqsood (109). Coming together at 62/2, Ilyas had already steadied the ship for Oman after Canadian seamer Romesh Eranga nipped out opener Khawar Ali with a sharper one that slipped under his bat.

When Zafar claimed the second wicket by sliding one past a defensive prod by Jatinder Singh, Canada sensed a chance to keep Oman to a manageable total, but Maqsood’s excellent century and some frankly bewildering decisions in the field let it slip away. Despite some good pressure being exerted by Dutta’s offspin as he tied down one end on his way to 0/35 off 10, captain Davy Jacobs appeared a little too conservative as he kept his field back rather than bringing men in to cut off the singles and Oman took full toll – knocking the Canadians around for plenty of comfortable runs.

This allowed Maqsood and Ilyas to set themselves and by the time their eyes were in, it was too late for Canada, as they accelerated with a flurry of boundaries in the last 15 (including an amusing lost ball into the groundskeeper’s shed as Maqsood guided Dhaliwal’s medium pace past the rope at backward point). The lower order also chipped in, with Suraj Kumar and Khurram Nawaz both striking at over 150 as they belted sixes (Nawaz hitting the shot of the match as he launched Pervez over midwicket for a glorious flick onto the grandstand roof) to push Oman to an imposing total.

Bilal Khan got Oman off to a perfect start in their defence as he bounced out Ravindu Gunesekara in the first over with a searing short ball that took the top edge of a pull shot seemingly played in another time zone. Nitish Kumar and Navneet Dhaliwal rebuilt at a good clip as they used the pace of the Omani openers to pepper the boundaries; but skipper Maqsood continued his good match by bringing himself on to beat Dhaliwal through the air and turn one into his stumps. Wijeyeratne came and went but Bhavindu Adhihetty looked comfortable at the crease against the pace barrage as he compiled an assured-looking 28 that included an exquisitely timed late nudge past third man for four off Fayyaz.

Unfortunately for Canada, once Kumar lobbed a mistimed drive off Sandeep Goud high to mid-on, it was a procession. Adhihetty and Jacobs both departed tamely (Adhihetty flipping a scoop-sweep directly to the man at backward square and Jacobs fishing outside off to gift an edge), and with them went most of Canada’s hopes. Fayyaz finished off the tail with some zippy yorkers and Oman jumped to the top of the table as the early favourites for WCL2.

If their fast bowlers continue their good form, Oman will be a handful for any team in this tournament, and with 3 victories enough to see them through, they move into the rest day as leaders in the hunt for ODI status. Canada meanwhile sit on the bottom of the table as the only team without a win, and if they’re to progress they will need to significantly lift in both batting discipline and strategic outlook in the field.


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