MUSCAT: Suraj Kumar struck a fine half century as Oman Development XI stunned a strong Ireland team on Saturday in the first of two practice games before the T20 Quadrangular Series, also involving Scotland and the Netherlands, starts on February 13, at Amerat’s picturesque ground 1.
Now a full ICC member and a Test-playing nation, Ireland has been in Oman since February 3, having daily net sessions and fielding drills to be ready for the four-nation series that will end on February 17.
Invited to bat first, Ireland was reduced to 12 for 3 in the third over as Gopendra Bohra removed the openers, Paul Stirling and Kevin Obrien, while number three Stuart Thomas was run out. Oman side continued to put the tourists under intense pressure as Ireland felt clueless at 47 for 6 in the 10th over. However, a couple of decent partnerships saved the Irish from total destruction, finding its way to 112 for 8 in 20 overs. George Dockrell topscored with an unbeaten 26 off 22. Andy Balbirnie (18 off 15) and Joshua Little (17 off 21) were the other notable scorers.
Bohra and Baadal Singh bowled splendid spells taking two wickets each.
It took Oman Development XI only 15.2 overs to chase down the small target, though it lost six wickets in the process. Having scored 23 for 1 in the third over, Oman side suddenly found itself sweating in cool breeze as the scoreboard read 55 for 5 in the 8th over. However, a 43-run sixth wicket partnership between Suraj (56 not out off 41) and Sandeep Goud (11 off 14) steered Oman to safety and a satisfying win. Joshua Little and Peter Chase claimed two wickets each.
The two teams will clash again on Wednesday for the second and final game before the Quadrangular Series kicks off on Wednesday.
Brief scores: Ireland 113 for 8 in 20 overs (George Dockrell 26 not out – 2×4, Andy Balbirnie 18 – 3×4, Joshua Little 17 – 1×4, 1×6. Gopendra Bohra 2-20, Baadal Singh 2-16) lost to Oman Development XI 116 for 6 in 15.2 overs (Suraj Kumar 56 not out – 4×4, 3×6, Sanuth Ibrahim 28 – 4×4, 1×6. Joshua Little 2-14, Peter Chase 2-42) by 4 wickets.