Oman were a complete class apart as they won the second semi-final match against Iran by nine wickets at the AIT ground here today.

An all Middle-Eastern semi-final seemed to have the makings of a great match. Both sides were eager to make an early impression, but it was Iran who were a little edgy at the start. While moving away to play the ball Mansour Raeisi (12) nicked the ball onto his own thigh to retire hurt in the fourth over. Immediately after, opener Vasim Tirehdast (4) jumped awkwardly as he tried avoiding the ball hitting him, and sent the ball back straight to the bowler.

Oman’s pace and accuracy have been one of their many strong traits this tournament as Karthik Balasubramaniam (2-9) and Taha Shah (1-8) make for a deadly opening pair. Iran were in trouble right from the start as runs just didn’t seem to materialise. Swinging and missing, Iran lost three early wickets and at the seventh over, they were 15-3.

Fernandes: A consistent performer

Raeisi returned to the crease but was clearly in a lot of discomfort as he limped through whatever little runs they were getting. He soon called for a runner taking a little load of the injury. This helped only to a certain extent and as the spinners arrived the ball was hit in the air much too often. One too many times and soon Raeisi was caught as the ball came off his top edge.

Xavier: Another haul of wickets

Suneet Fernandes (4-13) and Nikhil Xavier (3-12), both who have performed extremely well this tournament, once again proved to be too much for opposition as they crashed through the batting order. Iran’s last six wickets fell for just 19 runs as they finished at a disappointing total of 57 being all out.

Fernandes adds a few more runs on the board

Chasing 57 was never going to be a problem for Oman given the batting strength they have. Suneet Fernandes (20*) and Luvieen Alva (27) put on a 39-run partnership before Alva was dismissed leg before. Alva played some beautiful shots as six of them were sent over the boundary rope. The match was over in about half an hour as Fernandes and Akhliesh Iyer (4*) reached the total in just 7.2 overs leaving Oman the winners by 9 wickets.

Chief Guest Professor S. L. Ranamukhaarachi with
Man of the Match Fernandes

And for the third time this tournament, Suneet Fernandes was handed the Man of the Match award for playing his part in both batting and bowling aspects.

Oman v Iran at AIT, Bangkok
Iran won the toss and elected to bat
Iran: 57 all out after 21.2 overs (N. Xavier 3-12, S. Fernandes 4-13)
Oman: 58 for 1 after 7.2 overs

Man of the Match: Suneet Fernandes (Oman)

Filed December 21 2006