2020 T20 World Cup Qualifier: Oman crush UAE as lacklustre batting show costs hosts dearly

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UAE could muster only 108-9 in 20 overs. Image credit - ICC.

The UAE started their 2020 T20I World Cup campaign on a dismal note with a comprehensive seven-wicket defeat to neighbours Oman at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Dougie Brown’s men had been rocked by a match-fixing controversy just days before the start of the tournament and the absence of their suspended trio, including captain Mohammed Naveed, showed as they came out second best in all departments.

The hosts could muster just 108-9 after being made to bat first in Abu Dhabi with Oman cantering to victory with 10 balls to spare. It was Zeeshan Maqsood who claimed the winning runs, in emphatic style, with a six.

At the end of a one-sided affair in Group B, we look at the key talking points.

Lax start with bat costs hosts

UAE’s woes were mainly of their own making with the top-order batsmen guilty of throwing away their wickets to some lax shot-making.

While opener Ashfaq Ahmed was dismissed cheaply after a stunning catch at point by Aaqib Ilyas, his partner Chirag Suri looked good for a big score after getting off to an electric start.

Suri looked imperious in his brief stay at the crease but the same couldn’t be said of his dismissal, with his lazy chip towards mid-on being gobbled up comfortably by Mohammad Nadeem.

That it came off the very next delivery after Ghulam Shabbir’s run-out meant that the hosts had squandered the initiative to Oman inside the powerplay overs itself. Shabbir’s run-out was almost criminal with the left-hander nowhere in the picture following a direct hit by Khurram Nawaz.

The wicketkeeper batsman had only himself to blame after setting up for a suicidal single. From 30-3, it was always going to be a downhill battle for the hosts and it was a horror-start they never recovered from.

Brilliant Fayyaz and Bilal cut short UAE fightback

While the hosts never really recovered from their poor start with the bat, they would have hoped to make a significant late charge in the death overs with veteran Muhammad Usman setting starting to find his range.

However, any such hopes were dashed for good in the penultimate over with Oman pacer Fayyaz Butt grabbing three wickets in the space of four deliveries. He first outfoxed Waseem Ahmed through a clever change of pace, before ending the innings of the well-set Usman off the very next delivery.

UAE’s fading hopes were extinguished for good just moments later with Fayyaz having Sultan Ahmed caught behind by the wicketkeeper. From 102-5, UAE slumped to 104-8 with Fayyaz’s over taking the sting completely out of the tail.

In the final over, fellow pacer Bilal Khan got the better of Junaid Siddique to add to his two early scalps in the powerplay and cap off a fine bowling display.

Solid Aaqib, Kaleem help Oman recover from early loss

Oman’s chase of a modest 109 on a slow track started on the backfoot with opener Khawar Ali falling for a duck after miscuing an attempted pull shot off Junaid Siddique.

The hosts were given more encouragement a few overs later with a well-set Jatinder Singh run-out by an excellent Waseem Ahmed throw from the deep.

However, that was as good as it got for UAE’s bowlers with Aaqib Ilyas and Aamir Kaleem putting on a well-executed 42-run stand for the third wicket. The two Oman batsmen batted sensibly at the crease in contrast to their UAE counterparts with Kaleem playing the role of aggressor while Aaqib performed the anchor role.

By the time Kaleem departed for a 19-ball 27, the target was just 28 runs away while the required rate had come down to manageable levels. That job was duly completed with Aaqib seeing the side home with an unbeaten 45 from 51 balls.

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