A bowler always feels they have a chance with Kuwait’s batsmen, the ball’s regularly played in the air, they have huge swipes against inappropriate deliveries and they aren’t at all the best of runners between the wickets. And yet, in between the misadventures they strike the ball with an audacity and power that is breathtaking. Today, Kuwait’s batsmen took them to a match-winning score of 187.

They say cricket’s a ‘one-ball game’, the ball that decided the course of the match may well have been the first, Yasir Idrees driving loosely, the chance going through the hands of cover. Yasir went on to make 71 off 39 (seven 4s, five 6s) and, was the foundation of Kuwait’s 187. Oman either because of the early battering or a general flat-footedness, weren’t at their best in the field though Zeeshan Siddiqui did take a good catch to dismiss Saad Khalid.

Kuwait’s bowlers aren’t as devastating as their batsmen but today they made a lot happen. Rizwan Ali struck in his first over and slow left-armer Azmatullah found the edge of Ghazanbar Iqbal’s bat only to have the chance clang out of the Kuwait ‘keeper’s gloves. The reprieved Ghazanfar Iqbal took advantage with three 4s and to cap Azmatullah’s woes, he was dropped behind off him again last ball of the over.

Rizwan Ali ball from the City End won a vital lbw to snare Ghazanfar next ball and, two balls and a four later, took a wicket with the fourth ball of the fourth over. Kuwait cricket: never a dull moment.

Rizwan’s third over was good, just four runs from it, and the Required Run Rate was climbing to near 10 an over with Oman 59 for 3 after 7. Oman’s captain and best bat Vaibhav Wategaonkar there though, the hard-hitting Zeeshan Siddiqui with him. Siddiqui survived a difficult chance down leg side, the ‘keeper not to be blamed this time, praised rather for saving runs.

Sibtain Raza on whom the sun has shone in Nepal, struck with his first ball, a wide long-hop, and Vaibhav not on top of the flat-batted cover drive was caught by Hisham Mirza. Sibtain ould have had Zeeshan Siddiqui three balls later as well, parrying a hard-hit caught and bowled chance to his left.

Oman were 86 for 4 at the half-way stage, just over ten an over wanted, two big, booming batters in the middle.

Sibtain struck again with the second ball of his second over, Zeeshan coming down the wicket, the ball scooting between bat and pad to knock off the bails, 36 off 22 the stocky right-hander had made..Oman 86 for 5 in the 11th. Qais Al Said drove his first ball to the straight long-on boundary but no further runs in the 11th. Advantage Kuwait at this stage.

Qais fell in the 12th over, playing two strokes to a slow floater, mis-executing them both, the ball brushing his pad on its way to the stumps. The Oman 100 came up with a sweet straight six by Adnan Ilyas at the start of the 13th over and with the enterprising Sultan Ahmed joining him, Oman weren’t out of it yet. Sultan fell soon after though, bowled by Haroon Shahid’s left-arm spin for 3, which brought Oman’s last best hope Kaleem to the crease.

Adnan Ilyas was caught one-handed by Rizwan Ali, inches inside the long-off rope, one of those catches that some fielders make look more difficult than they should, and thus all the more spectacular when they stick. Kaleem fell to the crafty Haroon for 12 and the last-wicket pair now needed 61 from 27 deliveries if Oman were to win.

With 40 wanted and two overs remaining, the match-winning catch was dropped at long-off, Rajesh Ranpura surviving to potentially wreak more havoc. Kuwait never make it dull when they need to. The ask was too big for Oman though. It was Kuwait’s day.

ACC Twenty20 Cup 2013
Group B: Kuwait v Oman at Engineering Ground
Kuwait won the toss and chose to bat
Kuwait: 187 for 7 off 20 overs (Y.Idrees 71, M.Ghulam 32; R.Ranpura 2-37, A.Ali 3-27)
Oman: 161 all out off 18.5 overs (Z.Siddiqui 36; R.Ali 3-16, H.Mirza 2-35, S.Raza 2-20, H.Shahid 3-32)
Man of the Match: Yasir Idrees (Kuwait)

Tournament page

Filed March 29th, 2013