Oman's Hemin Desai

Oman and Kuwait came into this Group B match both on top of the table, Oman unbeaten and Kuwait having lost just once, in a bowl-out to Nepal after that match was tied. A win for Kuwait, thanks to their high net run-rate would see them finish top of the Group as both teams progress to the semi-finals. It was however, Oman who came out on top, by 86 runs.

The wicket, nearer to the centre of the square was not quite the hard-baked slab of previous days, with quite a bit more grass and moisture on it, “130-plus will be a good score” said Ali Anwar Jafri, doyen of Sharjah Stadium.

Oman’s Hemin Desai set off as if to disprove Mr. Jafri wrong, taking 14 off Khalid Butt’s first over. Oman have some thunderous hitters, who use timing and placement for boundaries.

At any level of cricket it’s not easy to flick sixes over square leg, first ball, but that’s what Maqsood Hussain did. It was a shot which had match referee Rumesh Ratnayake saying, “there really can’t be much difference between these players and the best in the world when you see shots like that.”

First-change Mohammad Murad impressed with his lively left-arm seam but Oman capitalized on anything loose and after 5 overs Oman were 71 for 0. Hemin Desai passed 50 in the 7th over off just 22 deliveries (three 4s and four 6s), quality shots all. 130 was going to be passed, it was a question of whether it’d now be 230. The ball was sitting up nicely off the seamers, though there was evidence of some skiddy turn for the spinners.

The first Oman wicket fell on 100 in the 8th over, Hemin Desai out for 63 off 28. Like the New York Yankees of the 50s and 60s, Oman have a powerful batters lined-up one after the other. After 10 overs Oman were 124 for 2 and with five overs to go Oman were 156 for 3, Kuwait coming back into it. Azmatullah caused problems for the Oman batsmen, his left-arm spin snaring Desai and Hussain; and Butt bowled a good second spell. Adnan Ilyas raced to a 28–ball 48 in the closing overs.

Kuwait's Azmatullah Mohammed takes a blinder in the deep as China's cricketers look on

Oman finished on 217 for 4. There had been plenty of boundaries and there had also been plenty of quality running. They look a pedigree batting side.

“Anything Oman can do we can do also,” was the view in the Kuwait camp. They have hitters too, a little more erratic than the Omanis, but no less dynamic and powerful. Oman, though not p have the edge in the field and wouldn’t gift as many runs as Kuwait.

Khalid Butt created a stir with his whirlwind 142 off 53 balls in Bahrain, coming after teenage Saad Khalid’s 79 off 38 balls against Malaysia earlier in the competition. Today however, Butt was caught behind, third ball for 4.

Kuwait's Khalid Butt is caught by Oman's Sultan Ahmed

Oman’s bowlers pitched on a length and let the batsmen self-destruct, the fielders holding some infield swirlers. After 5 overs Kuwait were 48 for 3, a lot resting on Kuwait’s burly captain Sanal Govind. He took 24 off Hemin Desai’s third over and Kuwait were back in contention. They’d have to lose by a lot and Malaysia and Nepal win by a lot in their matches on this final day of group competition for their semi-final place to be at risk on run-rate.

Govind fell to the crafty left-arm of Khalid Rasheed in the 9th over, and that left just Saad Khalid to get Kuwait close. He hit his first 6 off his eighth ball but didn’t last much after that, and after 15 overs Kuwait were 121 for 7. Oman almost dropped a few but those didn’t matter today.

Getting to 130-plus may have been a good score in the end for Kuwait, it wasn’t good enough to beat Oman.

ACC Twenty20 Cup 2009
Group B
Kuwait v Oman at Sharjah
Kuwait won the toss and elected to field
Oman: 217 for 4 off 20 overs (H.Desai 63, M.Hussain 48, A.Ilyas 48*; A.Mohammed 2-24)
Kuwait: 131 off 19.3 overs (S.Govind 32; A.Khan 2-36, H.Mehta 2-11, A.Ali 3-14)
Man of the Match: Hemin Desai (Oman)


ACC Twenty20 Cup 2009

Filed Nov 28th, 2009