Oman tastes first defeat in Scotland tri-series

August 19, 2019

Hosts Scotland avenged Thursday’s loss to Oman with a comprehensive 85-run win at Aberdeen on Sunday in the three-nation ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 one-day international (ODI) match.

The defeat was the first loss in three matches for Duleep Mendis’ men after it had begun its campaign with back-to-back victories over Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Scotland respectively.

Oman had registered a four-wicket win over PNG in its opening game and then followed it up with another impressive eight-wicket victory over Scotland.

However, on Sunday, the hosts bounced back to outplay Oman despite being first restricted to a modest 223 for seven in 50 overs.

The win also took Scotland on top of the table on better net run-rate (NRR) as it has 0.491 as compared to Oman’s -0.385. Both the teams have got two wins and four points each while PNG is yet to open its account.

Slow left-arm spinner Hamza Tahir’s five for 38 and medium pacer Safyaan Sharif’s three for 23 wrecked Oman batting as it was bowled out for a paltry 138 in 38.2 overs. For Oman, Aqib Ilyas’ gritty 45 off 58, vice-captain Jatinder Singh’s patient 23 off 54 and a late 33-ball 32 by Sandeep Goud were the notable scorers.

Earlier, Bilal Khan, debutant Ajay Lalcheta and Khawar Ali picked two wickets each to restrict the hosts to 223.

Khan had Scotland struggling at 17 for two as he picked the wickets of skipper Kyle Coetzer and Calum MacLeod. Ilyas then had George Munsey caught by Syed Aamir Kaleem as the hosts were reduced to 38 for three in 14 overs.

However, a crucial 89-run fourth wicket stand between Richie Berrington (68) and opener Matthew Cross (59) led the hosts’ revival before Cross became Lalcheta’s first of the two victims in Oman's 36th over. Lalcheta was on a hat-trick as he had Micheal Leask bowled off the next bowl but Craig Wallace denied him.

Wallace helped the hosts reach a challenging total with an unbeaten 53 that included two sixes and two boundaries.

Oman’s chase began on a disappointing note as it lost last match’s hero Khawar Ali early.

Jatinder and Ilyas shared a 52-run second wicket stand to prop up the chase. But

Jatinder’s departure triggered a middle-order collapse as skipper Zeeshan Maqsood (0), Lalcheta (6), Ilyas and Suraj Kumar (1) were back to pavilion by 27th over with the score 83 for six.

Sharif’s two-wicket spell in his seventh and team’s 35th over left Oman tottering at 111 for nine before a rear-guard action from Goud (32) and Khan delayed the inevitable as Oman was bowled out for 138.

Scotland next plays PNG on Tuesday while Oman meets PNG in its concluding game on Wednesday.

The first edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 forms part of the qualification pathway to the 2023 World Cup. All matches will have an ODI status.

Besides the three teams battling in Aberdeen, Scotland, Nepal, US, and the UAE are the other teams in the league.

 @ashokmuscat