By Shahzad Raza

MUSCAT: UAE completed its clean sweep of Group B beating a spirited Saudi Arabia by 12 runs while Oman made short work of Maldives in an emphatic 10-wicket victory in the morning games of the ACC Western Region T20 Tournament here at Amerat’s picturesque twin grounds on Tuesday.

After Monday’s unexpected loss to Qatar, Oman came out all guns blazing against Maldives, winning two crucial points and improving its net run rate to have one leg in the semifinals and is certain to face UAE in the knockout game on Wednesday if Qatar beats Bahrain in its last group game later on Tuesday. Otherwise, Bahrain must defeat Qatar with quite a big margin to boost its chances of reaching the last four stage.

UAE was tested to the limits by a resurgent Saudi side that first bowled it for 150 and then came close to chasing it down, falling short by only 12 runs. UAE bowlers and fielder had to use all the experience and international exposure to keep the spirited Saudis under check.

Opener Chirag Suri, who was adjudged the player of the match for his crucial 75 off 55, kept UAE in the game as wickets continued to fall around him. His 75-run fourth wicket partnership with Rohan Mustafa, who was dropped down the order, was the reason UAE got to a fighting total against a Saudi attack led by Abdul wahid who picked up 4 for 14.

Though no Saudi batsman scored big, a few of them struck some lusty blows to make the UAE work hard for a win.

UAE’s top batsman Suri said his team had prepared hard for the tournament and was expecting to do well.

“We are a side that is quite up the ranking so when we come out to a tournament like this we must be dominating. If we are not dominating we are doing something wrong. It’s good to put in some convincing performances but we have to be more clinical and must set high standards. Personally speaking, I should have scored a hundred today. I have been throwing my wicket away for the last two games and I have to work on it,” he added.

The UAE opener said he was pleased to see the high standards of fielding in the tournament.

“All the Asian sides in the tournament look so good. They have certainly improved in recent times. Just look at the Saudis today, they were exceptional in the field,” said Suri.

A few paces away at OC Turf 1, Oman openers Khawar Ali and Jatinder Singh did not put a foot wrong as they went about taking Oman past Maldives, unleashing an array of strokes around the park to overhaul a target of 130 in less than 15 overs. Khawar was particularly in imperious form and won his second player of the match award in three games for his strokeful 72 off 45. Jatinder’s 48 off 41 was a fine exhibition of his trademark cuts, pulls and drives.

Oman did well to restrict Maldives to 129 for 7 and nobody except Rishwan Mohamed, who struck an entertaining 61 with the help of four sixes, was able to break free. Oman’s pace spearhead Bilal Khan bagged two wickets for only 16 runs.

Always hard to satisfy, Oman coach Duleep Mendis said he would expect better bowling performance from his bowlers.

“I seriously feel we must bowl better. Oman has been preparing hard for the 50-over international cricket and we played so many ODIs in the last couple of months. I feel our bowlers are still in that mode and I would like to see them bowl as per the demands of T20 cricket,” he explained.

Mendis said he was really pleased to see Khawar returning to his best.

“Khawar and Jatinder batted very well today and when your top order is in prime form it adds to the team’s strength which is so great to see especially when you are so close to the knockout stage,” he said.

Tue 25-Feb

Oman v Maldives at OC Turf I
Oman won the toss and elected to field
Maldives: 129 for 7 off 20 overs (R.Mohamed 61, H.Rasheed 34)
Oman: 132 for 0 off 14.2 overs (K.Ali 72*, J.Singh 48*)
Man of the Match: Khawar Ali (Oman)

Saudi Arabia v UAE at OC Turf II
UAE won the toss and chose to bat
UAE: 150 all out off 19 overs (C.Suri 75, R.Mustafa 32; A.Wahid 4-14)
Saudi Arabia: 138 for 7 off 20 overs
Man of the Match: Chirag Suri (UAE)


Tournament page

Filed February 25th, 2020