Pacers Ahmed Fayyaz Butt and Bilal Khan decimated hosts UAE as Oman started its ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier campaign with a resounding 7-wicket win on Friday at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.  Ireland thrashed Hong Kong by 8 wickets in the day’s other Group B game. Group A action saw Singapore upset Scotland in a thrilling 2-run win while The Netherlands beat Kenya by 2 runs.

Weakened by the absence of its three banned players who are banned by ICC on match-fixing charges, UAE could not stand up to Oman’s pace attack after being reduced to 3 for 29 in the first five overs and was restricted to a meagre 108 for 9 in 20 overs. Man of the match Butt picked up 3 for 16 while Khan claimed 3 for 23.  Oman lost opened Khawar Ali cheaply but recovered well to overhaul the target in the 19th over, scoring 109 for 3 thanks to solid 45 not out by one drop Aqib Ilyas. Amir Kaleem and captain Zeeshan Maqsood contributed 27 and 16 not out respectively.

“It’s a great way to start such an important tournament. Beating UAE is always special for us as they think we are the underdogs. Our boys played really well. Bowlers bowled particularly well and it was a clinical finish,” said Duleep Mendis, Oman’s Head Coach.  He said his team was now pretty confident of giving a good account of itself in the rest of the tournament. Oman takes on Hong Kong in its next match today.

Brief scores: UAE 108 for 9 in 20 overs (Muhammed Usman 27 – 2×4, 1×6, Rohan Mustafa 24 – 2×4. Ahmed Fayyaz Butt 3-16, Bilal Khan 3-23) lost to Oman 109 for 3 in 18.2 overs (Aqib Ilyas 45 not out 3×4, Amir Kaleem 27 – 4×4, Zeeshan Maqsood 16 not out – 1×4, 1×6) by 7 wickets.

Source: Times of Oman

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