The Sunday Leader

Duleep Mendis-Coached Oman Secure World T20 Spot

  • World T20 Qualifiers

 Oman qualified for next year’s Twenty20 World Cup in India with a five-wicket victory over Namibia in Ireland.

It will be the first time the Gulf country, coached by former Sri Lanka captain Duleep Mendis, have reached a major international tournament.

Afghanistan beat Papua New Guinea by six wickets to claim the other qualifying place and book a spot in the tournament for the fourth time in a row.  Scotland, Ireland, Hong Kong and the Netherlands will also join the 10 Test-playing nations in the 16-team tournament.

Oman’s win was richly deserved and they created another Cinderella fairytale as they continued their improbable journey by storming away with a five-wicket win over Namibia. The win sealed Oman’s first ever spot in a major ICC event with a trip to India now booked for next year’s ICC World Twenty20 and victory for Oman also secured T20 international status for the next four years.

Zeeshan Siddiqui’s sixth four over long-off capped the chase with an over to spare and brought up his half-century off 32 balls.

Oman’s chase was aggressive from the start after being set a modest target of 149. They powered to 41 in five overs thanks to confident hitting from Khawar Ali and Zeeshan Maqsood. Khawar fell off the first ball of the sixth for 18 after being done in by a Sarel Burger slower ball while Maqsood fell for 28 after trying to sneak a second run off a misfield. Aamir Kaleem was Bernard Scholtz’s 14th wicket of the tournament, caught behind after gloving an attempted sweep for 8 to make it 67 for 3 in nine overs.

However, Oman did not let Bernard tie them down as he had done successfully against other teams, using their feet to shuffle around the crease and create room for scoring options, mainly with deft glides for singles and twos in the gaps in front of square. After the game, Siddiqui indicated that Oman’s daily net sessions against their own arsenal of left-arm spinners – Ajay Lalcheta, Aamer Kaleem and Maqsood – had prepared them well for the challenge posed by Bernard. His figures of 1 for 29 were Bernard’s second-worst of the tournament as Siddiqui and Jatinder Singh manufactured a 62-run stand to put Oman in total control.

When Jatinder was run out for 33 attempting a tight single, Oman were left needing 20 off 19 balls with six wickets in hand. Gerrie Snyman prized out another wicket in the following over, getting Mehran Khan inside-edge an attempted slog onto his stumps. But Siddiqui washed away any nervous energy by bashing Gerrie for six over long-off which prompted his new batting partner Aamer Ali to race down the wicket and give him a bear hug.

Another four by Siddiqui to end the over through cover spurred another embrace from Aamer. Six balls later, Siddiqui sealed the match to spark emotional celebrations on the pitch.

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