Match: Oman v Papua New Guinea
Time: 14:00 local time on Sunday 17 October
Venue: Oman Cricket Academy Ground, Al Amerat
It’s here. The T20 World Cup is here. First-time hosts against first-time participants.
The jewel in the crown of the Khimji family’s cricketing mission, the Oman Cricket Academy ground is a fitting location for a tournament opener: new beginnings in a world desperate to start living again.
Five years after a tournament debut of their own, Oman come into the match on their soil as heavy favourites, but won’t have it all their own way when facing a Barramundis side who play best with their back against the wall.
The key battle will no doubt be in the Powerplay overs, with PNG’s opening pair of Assad Vala and Tony Ura to go toe-to-toe with Oman’s new ball pair of Bilal Khan and Fayyaz Butt.
With an average opening partnership over 50 during the Qualifier, the pair hold the key for PNG, matched by a bludgeoning opening pair on the other side, with Jatinder Singh particularly dangerous.
Khawar Ali is expected to return after sitting out warm-up matches, with Aqib Ilyas and Zeeshan Maqsood arguably edging their PNG adversaries in terms of solid middle-order talent.
With the ball, captain Vala as several potential remedies to stem the flow, with no less than eight bowling options at his disposal. Norman Vanua and Nosaina Pokana lead the attack, though the leg-spin of Charles Amini and off-speed nous of Chad Soper could prove more effective.
Predicted Oman XI: Jatinder Singh, Khawar Ali, Aqib Ilyas, Ayaan Khan, Zeeshan Maqsood, Mohammad Nadeem, Sandeep Goud, Naseem Khushi, Kaleemullah, Fayyaz Butt, Bilal Khan
Predicted Papua New Guinea playing XI: Assad Vala, Tony Ura, Charles Amini, Sese Bau, Norman Vanua, Simon Atai, Kiplin Doriga, Jason Kila, Nosaina Pokana, Damien Ravu, Chad Soper
Dream11 Fantasy tips
Must-have: Bilal Khan
The yorker king at Associate level, Bilal Khan could enjoy his time of it on home soil, assuming the ball swings. Look for him to make early inroads.
Player to consider: Norman Vanua
Given PNG’s potential frailties, Norman Vanua’s batting capabilities down the order could deliver bonus points of sorts, and is likely to bowl to close his full quotient.
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