Unbeaten Oman shoot to top with victories over Singapore, Malaysia

Aaqib

 

The top two teams will then clash in the final on Thursday, September 6 to decide the winner who will qualify to play in the Asia Cup, starting on September 15 in UAE

Oman shot to the top of the six-nation Asia Cup Qualifiers table with a powerful 8-wicket win over Singapore thanks to a scintillating century by dashing opener Aqib Ilyas and a 4-wicket haul by left-arm speedster Bilal Khan here on Saturday.

With a total of six points from three games it has played so far, Oman remains the only unbeaten side in the tournament with two more matches to go against Hong Kong and UAE on Sunday and Tuesday respectively.

The top two teams will then clash in the final on Thursday, September 6 to decide the winner who will qualify to play in the Asia Cup, starting on September 15 in UAE.

Chasing a target of 216 to win, set by Singapore after it elected to bat first, Oman raced to the target in just 26.4 overs, riding on a 151run opening stand between Aqib and Jatinder Singh who contributed an entertaining 53 off 46. Aqib’s swashbuckling 108 came off 71 balls including 12 fours and 6 sixes. Veterans Khawar Ali (36 off 31) and Vaibhav Wategaonkar (12 off 13) then guided Oman to victory without further loss.

Earlier, Oman seamers bowled brilliantly again taking seven of the eight Singapore wickets to fall as it limped to 215 for 8 in 50 overs. Anish Param (77 off 93) and Rohan Rangarajan (68 off 92) were the only notable scorers. Bilal led the bowling honours for Oman, taking 4 for 40 while Muhammed Nadeem bagged 2 for 21.

“Oman remains unbeaten after yet another win. It’s a great feeling.Aqib and Jatinder played really well today.” Oman coach said “We had a very good tour of Sri Lanka which added to our team’s confidence. We carried forward that confidence into the Asia Cup Qualifiers and are ready to take on Hong Kong and UAE in our next two games, he added.

Lalcheta shines

Meanwhile, in the earlier match held on Thursday, all-rounder Ajay Lalcheta’s stubborn 44 off 58 balls saw Oman to a fighting two-wicket victory against hosts Malaysia.

Chasing a modest 199 to win, Oman needed six in the last over with Lalcheta (44) and Bilal Khan (2) on the crease. Bilal hit a huge six off the second ball to seal the game for his side. Lalcheta was adjudged man of the match for his fighting knock that kept Oman in the game right till the last over. Viabhav (39), Nadeem (28) and skipper Zeeshan Maqsood (21) were the other leading scorers.

Oman pacers had earlier bowled exceptionally well to restrict Malaysia to 198 for 8 in 50 overs. Bilal Khan and Ahmed Fayyaz Butt claimed three wickets each. Virandeep Singh top scored with 74 off 110 balls while Syed Aziz contributed 27 off 30.