The 1st game of the Oman Pentangular T20I Series, 2019 will be played between Oman and Hong Kong at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground Oman Cricket (Ministry Turf 1) in Al Amarat.
The match starts at 9:30 AM local time (5:30 AM GMT) (11:00 AM IST).
Hong Kong will kick start the Oman Pentangular T20I series on Saturday when they face off the hosts in the opening match. A total of 10 matches will be played between the five countries participating in this tournament. The two sides would be seen facing off later in the Men’s T20 CWC Qualifiers to be hosted by UAE a week after this tournament.
Hong Kong has not featured in any T20 match in the last two years and this will serve as a perfect warm-up ahead of the big tournament. There will be missing a few big names in the Qualifier due to various reasons. On the other hand, Oman hasn’t been consistent in the shorter format. They have won as few as five out of 20 matches in the T20I format.
Clear weather is expected for the tournament opener in Al Amarat. Sunny weather is forecasted for the day but there is a chance of showers between 11 AM and 2 PM.
The Al Amerat Cricket Ground has been favourable for the chasing teams especially in the morning games. The pitch remains little sluggish in the morning time and teams might not reach big totals if they don’t start cautiously. Targets close to 180 might be tough to chase down.
Average first innings score: 159 (Last 4 T20Is played in the morning)
Record of chasing teams: Won – 4, Lost – 0
(Will be added when there is an update)
Probable Playing XIs:
Jatinder Singh, Khawar Ali, Khurram Nawaz Khan, Zeeshan Maqsood (C), Syed Amir Kaleem, Sufyan Mahmood, Suraj Kumar (WK), Sandeep Goud, Muhammed Mehran Khan, Ahmed Fayyaz Butt, Bilal Khan.
Bench – Jay Odedara, Aqib Ilyas, Kaleemullah, Naseem Khushi.
Aizaz Khan (C), Nizakat Khan, Kinchit Shah, Waqas Khan, Ahsan Abbasi, Scott McKechnie (WK), Raag Kapur, Ehsan Khan, Waqas Barkat, Nasrulla Rana, Mohammad Ghazanfar.
Bench – Shahid Wasif, Simandeep Singh, Aarush Bhagwat, Kyle Christie, Haroon Arshed, Ninad Shah.
Zeeshan Maqsood, Khawar Ali, Syed Amir Kaleem and Khurram Nawaz Khan have good records in the T20 format with both bat and ball. The Hong Kong skipper Aizaz Khan could be a surprise package. He hasn’t had great numbers with the bat for Hong Kong but is fresh of a century in the recently concluded Hong Kong Premier T20 tournament and also took six wickets in four games. Waqas Barkat and Nasrulla Rana took seven wickets apiece in the domestic T20 tournament.
Captain and Vice-Captain Selection:
Captain – Zeeshan Maqsood, Khawar Ali, Nizakat Khan, Aizaz Khan.
Vice-Captain – Kinchit Shah, Khurram Nawaz Khan, Ehsan Khan, Syed Amir Kaleem.
Nizakat Khan stands among the most consistent batsmen produced by Hong Kong. He scored 159 runs at an average of 53 and a strike rate of 159 in the Domestic T20 tournament. He will be a safe option as vice-captain and can even be made captain.
Suggested Playing XI No.1 for Fantasy Cricket:
Keeper – Scott McKechnie
Batters – Khurram Nawaz, Nizakat Khan (VC), Waqas Khan
All-Rounders – Zeeshan Maqsood (C), Kinchit Shah, Khawar Ali, Aizaz Khan
Bowlers – Ahmed Fayyaz Butt, Ehsan Khan, Bilal Khan
Suggested Playing XI No.2 for Fantasy Cricket:
Keeper – Suraj Kumar
Batters – Nizakat Khan, Waqas Khan, Sandeep Goud
All-Rounders – Zeeshan Maqsood, Khawar Ali (C), Waqas Barkat, Aizaz Khan (VC)
Bowlers – Syed Amir Kaleem, Ehsan Khan, Nasrulla Rana
Khawar Ali, Zeeshan Maqsood, Aizaz Khan and Kinchit Shah will be crucial in the all-rounders’ category. Waqas Barkat could be differential pick as not many will be picking him ahead of the above mentioned four experienced players. Kinchit might be the one to get excluded due to his batting position and chances of not bowling many overs.
Hong Kong definitely has more players suited for the T20 format but Oman has experience and stability on their side.
*Disclaimer: These picks were made based on the understanding, analysis and instinct of the author. While selecting your team, consider the points mentioned and make your own decision.