Aberdeen: Aqib Ilyas’s brilliant all-round effort guided Oman to a convincing four-wicket win over Papua New Guinea in the final match of the opening round of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 on Wednesday, 21 August.
Ilyas retuned 1/6 from his three overs and later, top-scored for his side with a match-winning 76-ball 63 which featured six fours. Jay Odedra was Oman’s star bowler, finishing with 4/34. With the victory – their third out of four games – Oman finished with six points on the standings table only behind Scotland, who finished with a better net run-rate.
Sent in to bat, PNG got off to a steady start with their openers Tony Ura and Gaudi Toka adding 48 runs inside the first eight overs. Paceman Bilal Khan broke their partnership as he had Toka clean bowled for 23. Four overs later Toka’s partner Ura also fell, becoming Bilal’s second victim.
Ura, who was dismissed for 34, and Hiri Hiri, the No.9, were the only two batters to score in the thirties. Hiri remained unbeaten on 31 while skipper Assad Vala (20), Kiplin Doriga (24) and Chad Soper (29), after getting good starts, all fell prey to Odedra’s spin bowling.
Throughout their innings, PNG lost wickets regularly, which hampered the flow of runs. They could only post 206/9 from their 50 overs. In response, Oman lost an early wicket with their opener, Jatinder Singh, falling cheaply for just 6. Khawar Ali and Ilyas then forged a match-defining stand of 98 before Charles Amini snared the crucial scalp of Ilyas.
Three overs later, skipper Zeeshan Maqsood fell to Hiri for just 4 and after two more balls, Khawar was dismissed for 32. In the end, Mohammad Nadeem (29*) and Suraj Kumar (35*) shared an important unbeaten 71-run, taking Oman across the line in the 48th over with 14 balls remaining.
Pankaj Khimji, Senior Board Member, Oman Cricket was delighted by the team’s brilliant performance in Scotland. Accompanying the team as Chef de Mission, Pankaj said: “Congratulations Oman once again. Our boys were marvellous as ever. They were clearly the better team in all respects.”
Talking to the team he said, “Bravo boys. Well done. Let’s just keep working on the little things that will help us get even better. Rest well and enjoy the break.”
“Oman Cricket is so proud of what you have achieved. Thank you for keeping the Oman flag flying high,” he added. PNG finished the opening round of the CWCL 2 winless in four games.