Muscat: Oman made it to the Super Six stage of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 on Sunday despite going down to Scotland by 76 runs in their concluding Group B match at the Bulawayo Athletic Club, Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Oman’s path to the Super Six was helped by Ireland’s 133-run defeat to Sri Lanka earlier in the day.
Oman and Scotland will carry the flag of the Associates in the Super Sixes from Group B while the Netherlands are the other Associate nation, having qualified from Group A. Test-playing nations Zimbabwe, West Indies (both from Group A) and Sri Lanka complete the Super Six line-up.
Oman will not be carrying any points to the next stage, with points only against fellow qualifying teams from the same group considered.
‘Proud to be in Super Sixes’
After the loss, Oman captain Zeeshan Maqsood said: “We haven’t done well in the last games. Need to take the positives. Bilal and Fayyaz bowled well. We didn’t bat well in the first half, but later Naseem’s [Khushi] innings was a positive. Very proud of making the Super Sixes. We need to come back stronger. We have hope, we have done hard work. Our goal is to play in India, we will do well.”
On Sunday, Scotland ran out easy winners against Oman with Brandon McMullen’s brilliant century setting them up for victory, their third win in a row. McMullen began this tournament with a first five-wicket haul, and he now has a maiden ODI hundred.
Christopher McBride was pinned leg before for a duck off the third ball by Oman’s pacer Bilal Khan to bring McMullen to the crease, where he joined Matthew Cross (27) to add 82 runs for the second wicket.
When the keeper was bowled by Jay Odedra (2/68), skipper Richie Berrington came in, fresh from his century against the UAE. He raced to a 62-ball 60 before a mix-up after a misfield saw the skipper run out, bringing a 138-run stand to a close.
McMullen followed for 136, the second of Bilal Khan’s five victims as Oman fought back, although Tomas Mackintosh (32) and Mark Watt (25) chipped in with some handy late runs. Bilal kept chipping away though, finishing with figures of five for 55, before two wickets in the final over, including Adrian Neill’s run-out off the last ball, saw Scotland finish on 320 all out.
Oman never threatened to chase it down, with the opening pair putting on just 25 for the first wicket in ten overs. McMullen ended that partnership when he had Kashyap Prajapati bowled for 12, with Neill then adding Jatinder Singh for 14.
Bowled was the preferred method of dismissal, with skipper Zeeshan Maqsood (8) and Aqib Ilyas (31) also succumbing to Michael Leask and Watt respectively, leaving Oman on 72 for four.
Chris Greaves (5/53) then joined the party, dismissing Mohammad Nadeem (15) and Ayaan Khan (30) to make it 120 for six.
A 105-run stand between Shoaib Khan (36) and Naseem Khushi (69) reduced the margin of victory, but Greaves dismissed both before bowling Fayyaz Butt as Oman finished on 244 for nine from their 50 overs.
Sri Lanka canter to win
A convincing win for Sri Lanka ended Ireland’s hopes of reaching the Super Six. Ireland needed to beat Sri Lanka to have any chance of reaching the next stage, but fell to a 133-run loss as Dimuth Karunaratne added a century to the fifties he had made in the first two games.
Sri Lanka, like Scotland, are a perfect three from three in Zimbabwe, and it is the same men who have stepped up time and again.
Dimuth Karunaratne had enjoyed knocks of 52 and 61 not out in wins over the UAE and Oman, and produced his best performance yet with 103 as Sri Lanka made 325 after being put in.
In a tournament where big chases have come thick and fast, Wanindu Hasaranga again made the difference with the ball, collecting a third five-wicket haul in as many matches in the 133-run win. Barry McCarthy had earlier taken two wickets in as many balls in the ninth over as Ireland restricted Sri Lanka to 48 for two, but that brought Sadeera Samarawickrama (82) to the crease to join Karunaratne.
The duo proceeded to add 168 for the third wicket to set the platform for a huge score. Samarawickrama eventually fell off the bowling of Gareth Delany, failing to take advantage of being put down moments earlier. Karunaratne followed in the 38th over, bowled by Mark Adair after bringing up his maiden ODI hundred.
Sri Lanka kept the pressure on though, Charith Asalanka (38) and Dhananjaya de Silva (42 not out) providing some valuable runs.
However, Adair (4/46) chipped in with three further wickets as Sri Lanka stumbled down the stretch, leaving Ireland requiring 326 to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
Any Irish momentum from the end of the innings quickly dissipated. The chase never really got going, Paul Stirling caught behind off Lahiru Kumara in the fourth over. Kasun Rajitha then took the other opener, Andy McBrine (17) before Hasaranga came up with the crucial wicket of skipper Andy Balbirnie (12).
The wickets kept tumbling as Ireland were reduced to 116 for six. Hasaranga then added two more in the space of three balls before completing his five-wicket haul with the final ball of his tenth over, ending a 30-run stand for the tenth wicket by taking Josh Little (20) with a return catch.
That made Hasaranga just the second bowler in men’s ODI history to record three successive five-wicket hauls – an impressive return considering he had never previously achieved the feat before this tournament.
WI, Netherlands face off
Like Group B, the three qualifiers for the Super Six in Group A are already decided, with Zimbabwe, Netherlands and the West Indies all safely through.
Three is still plenty on the line for the latter two sides however, when Windies and Netherlands face off for Super Six points at the Takashinga Cricket Club in Harare on Monday.
With both sides having lost to Zimbabwe, they will need a win in this one to take any points through to the Super Six stage. Considering that only the top two from the Super Six will reach the final and qualify for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, those two points could have huge ramifications.
In the group’s other game, Zimbabwe will look to make it a perfect four wins from four against the USA at the Harare Sports Club.
Brief scores: Scotland 320 all out in 50 overs (Brandon McMullen 136, Richie Berrington 60; Bilal Khan 5/55, Fayyaz Butt 2/68) beat Oman 244 for nine in 50 overs (Naseem Khushi 69, Shoaib Khan 36; Chris Greaves 5/53, Michael Leask 1/10).
Sri Lanka 325 all out in 49.5 overs (Dimuth Karunaratne 103, Sadeera Samarawickrama 82; Mark Adair 4/46, Barry McCarthy 3/56) beat Ireland 192 all out in 31 overs (Curtis Campher 39, Harry Tector 33; Wanindu Hasaranga 5/79; Maheesh Theekshana 2-29).
June 26 fixtures: Group A: Zimbabwe vs USA; Netherlands v West Indies.