Unbeaten half-centuries by Kashyap Prajapati and skipper Zeeshan Maqsood powered hosts Oman to a nine-wicket win over Canada in the Group A match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier A, at the Oman Academy ground, here on Saturday.
In the second game, Nepal registered a 136-run win over the Philippines to top the group with four points after their back-to-back victories. Both, Canada and Oman have two points each now. Oman’s win helped them bounce back to keep their hopes alive for a spot in the semi-finals. The top two teams in each group will advance to the knockout round.
Chasing a target of 156 to win, Oman lost opening batter, Jatinder Singh, in the fifth over with the total at 30. Maqsood joined Prajapati in the middle and the pair exhibited some fine strokes all around the park. The duo took the attack to the bowlers to share a 129-run unbroken partnership to secure a comfortable win with 12 balls to spare.
Prajapati was unbeaten for 74 off 56 balls and his knock was studded with five boundaries and four sixes. Maqsood displayed more attacking intent to race to his 76 off just 44 balls, with six boundaries and five maximums. On the other hand, Rayyan Pathan and Matharu went for plenty in their spell as they gave away 24 and 23 runs respectively in their two-over spells.
Earlier, Ravinderpal Singh anchored Canada’s innings with a partnership with Saad Zafar to guide the team to 83 before Maqsood broke the stand.
Canadian opening pair Rayyan Pathan and Matthew Spoors — got off to a bright start. Pathan was in fine form as he found the early boundaries in the power play but was run out in the fifth over for 26, which included four boundaries.
Matthew Spoors, who made a century on his T20I debut on Friday, followed his partner in the pavilion soon as Kaleemullah came up with a splendid wicket-maiden sixth over. Canada skipper Navneet Dhaliwal departed in the next over to leave the side at 43-3. Singh and Zafar revived the innings with a 42-run stand.
Oman bowlers restricted their opponents to a 62-3 at the halfway mark. Hamza Tariq and Singh gradually accelerated the run rate as they took 12 off Syed Aamir Kaleem’s 14th over. Singh finally fell in the 17th over, caught brilliantly by Prajapati off Bilal Khan. Dillon Heylinger struck some hits in the death overs, blasting a six and two successive boundaries in the 18th over to stay unbeaten on 21 off ten balls. Tariq ended Canada’s innings with a six to help the team’s total of 155 for six.
In another game of the day, Kushal Bhurtel slammed an unbeaten 61-ball century as Nepal defeated the Philippines by 136 runs at Oman Academy 2 ground. Coming out to bat after the Philippines won the toss, Nepal scored 218/3 in their 20 overs. Opener Aasif Sheikh was sent back for a duck in the second over and soon after, Kushal Malla followed.
A 171-run fourth-wicket stand between Bhurtel and experienced Dipendra Singh Airee (83 off 47) meant that the Philippines went into the break, looking at a big target. Dipendra’s innings included six fours and four sixes while Bhurtel’s inning was studded with 13 boundaries and one maximum. The Philippines were then restricted to only 82/8 with contributions from Daniel Smith, Jordan Alegra, and captain Jonathan Hull.
After defending a low score against Oman on Friday, Nepal were impressive with the ball once again. Sandeep Lamichhane led from the front, with figures of 3/9. This is the third-highest margin of victory in T20 Internationals for Nepal.
After a rest day on Sunday, Nepal will face Canada whilst the Philippines take on Oman on Monday.