Oman gets ODI status, Mendis says ‘biggest achievement’
Oman’s thrilling last-over win over hosts Namibia on Wednesday in the ICC World Cricket League Division Two confirmed its ODI status for the first time, an achievement that coach Duleep Mendis termed ‘the biggest ever so far’.
The fourth successive victory for Team Oman mean that it remained on top of the six-nation table with eight points and now takes on Papua New Guinea (PNG) in its final league match on Friday. It has also assured itself of a place in Saturday’s final.
In his exclusive remarks to Muscat Daily on Oman Cricket’s red-letter day, Mendis said, “It has been a six-year journey.
Getting the ODI status, this is the pinnacle. This is what we had wanted. For Oman, for Oman Cricket board, for every cricket enthusiast, I think it is the biggest achievement.”
Oman achieved the ODI status along with US, which too, got it for the first time. Besides the ODI status, both Oman and US will join the newly-formed ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League Two – where they will play 36 ODIs over a two-and-a-half year period with Scotland, Nepal and the UAE on the road to Cricket World Cup 2023. Two more teams from the WCL Two will join the League Two.
Oman’s passage to ODI status and more competitive cricket had already been confirmed earlier in the day when Canada downed Papua New Guinea, but it finished the job in style anyway as Sandeep Goud’s unbeaten half-century saw off Namibia. He was well-supported by wicketkeeper-batsman Suraj Kumar (51).
Having won the toss and elected to field, Oman looked right on top from the outset as captain Zeeshan Maqsood (2-27) and Khawar Ali (2-23) took early wickets. At 98 for seven, Namibia’s chances looked all but over but Zane Green (46) and JJ Smit (60) shared an impressive 103-run stand for the ninth wicket to lift the hosts to a competitive 213 for nine. Ahmed Fayyaz Butt (3-52) was the most successful bowler for Oman.
In reply, Oman’s perfect record looked under threat as Jan Frylinck (3-34) led the way for Namibia. But Kumar’s knock kept Oman on track before Goud (57 n.o.) and Butt got it over the line with four wickets and five balls to spare.
Later, Mendis said, “It was a hard-fought match and my boys played extremely well. Despite Namibia putting up more than 200 on board, we always felt that we could achieve it as the wicket was placid and we have a strong batting line-up.”
The former Sri Lankan skipper said that the injury to ‘Shani’ [Maqsood] ‘was a blow’ and even ‘without his contribution’ we could win the game.
“I hope that Shani’s injury is not serious and he is available for the remaining games.”
Brief scores: Namibia 213-9 in 50 overs (Smit 60, Green 46; Butt 3-52, Ali 2-23, Maqsood 2-27) lost to Oman 214-6 in 49.1 overs (Goud 57 n.o., Kumar 51, Ilyas 44; J Frylinck 3-34).