Debutants Oman dished out a resolute batting effort to stun Ireland by two wickets and register a nerve-wrecking win over their experienced rivals in their Group A qualifying match of the ICC World Twenty20, here on Wednesday. (Scorecard)
Chasing a competitive 155 for win, Oman were off to a blazing start with their openers – Zeeshan Maqsood (38 off 33) and Khawar Ali (34 off 26) garnering 69 off 8.2 overs.
But then came Kevin O’Brien (2/25), who dismissed both the dangerous looking openers in his consecutive overs to bring Ireland back into the match.
Jatinder Singh (24 off 26) struggled to get going, while Adnan Ilyas and Mehran Khan disappointed their side as Oman lost three wickets in quick time.
After Kevin O’Brien, it was Andy McBrine’s two scalps in 14th over that dashed Oman’s hopes.
But towards the end, Aamer Ali (32 off 16, 5x4s,1×6) used his long handle to great effect to keep Oman in the hunt till the very last over.
Needing 14 off the last over, Oman rode on luck and some bad fielding and bowling from Max Sorenson to overwhelm the target with one ball to spare.
Earlier opting to bat, Ireland top-order put up a decent show to post a competitive 154 for five.
Skipper William Porterfield (29 off 28) and Paul Stirling (29 off 22) shared a 48-run opening stand in 6.3 overs to give Ireland a flying start.
One down Gary Wilson then smashed 38 off 34 balls with the help of five boundaries to carry on the good work of the openers.
But then Oman pacer Munis Ansari (3/37) came to the party in the middele overs and picked up two wickets — Niall O’Brien (16) and his brother Kevin O’Brien (14) — in the 16th over to pull back Ireland.
Andrew Poynter (11 not out) and Andy McBrine (10 off 3) balls played short little cameos to take Ireland past the 150 -run mark.
Besides Ansari, Aamir Kaleem (1/27) and Khawar Ali (1/20) picked up a wicket each for Oman.
Brief Scores: Ireland: 154 for five in 20 overs (Gary Wilson 38; Munis Ansari 3/37). Oman: 156 for eight in 19.5 overs (Zeeshan Maqsood 38; Andy McBrine 2/15).