UAE rout Oman to be crowned ACC Premier Cup champions

Sports Sunday 21/April/2024 18:23 PM
By: Times News Service
UAE rout Oman to be crowned  ACC Premier Cup champions

MUSCAT: UAE dashed the dreams of Oman’s maiden Asia Cup berth as they put up a masterclass performance to outplay the hosts by 55 runs in the final of the ACC Men’s Premier Cup at the Oman Cricket Academy ground on Sunday.

Put to bat first, UAE skipper Muhammed Waseem slammed a century (100) as they put up a solid total of 204/4.

Oman's chase never gained momentum, courtesy of pacer Junaid Siddique's devastating opening spell (3/11), leaving them struggling at 11/3.

The defeat was the first for Oman after five successive wins in the ongoing tournament but it ended the hopes of their maiden berth in the ACC Asia Cup while UAE booked their spot in the coveted event.

Coached by former Indian cricketer Lalchand Rajput, who took charge of the side in February this year, the UAE will feature in next year’s Asia Cup for the second time, having previously participated in 2016.

Oman, however, along with UAE and third-placed Hong Kong secured their spots in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, which will be played later this year.

UAE’s win also avenged the loss to the hosts in the group stage when Oman won by nine wickets on April 15.

Siddique's early breakthroughs set the tone for UAE's triumph with two wickets in the first over of Oman’s batting. He removed the opening pair of Kashyap Prajapati and Naseen Khushi in a span of three balls as Prajapati nicked behind to Syed Haider off the third ball and then castled Khushi off the final ball of the over to leave the hosts at 2/4. He then dealt a hammer blow when he had Oman’s in-form batter Aqib Ilyas, the hero of Friday’s semi-final victory against Hong Kong, caught behind in his second over.

Siddique’s opening spell (2-0-11-3), certainly turned the scales in UAE favour and from 11/3, it needed something special from the rest of Oman batters to stage a fight back.

Maqsood and Kail put on a 43-run stand in nearly five overs to rekindle hopes before UAE’s leg-spinner Muhammad Farooq extinguished those hopes with a double blow in the eighth over, grabbing two wickets off successive deliveries.

First, Maqsood (14) was caught by Waseem off Farooq and then Ayaan Khan was caught behind by Haider as Oman slipped to 54/5.

The hosts slid further as Kail, who looked to be the most comfortable batter till then, was stumped by Haider off Aayan Afzal Khan for 25-ball 30 that included four boundaries and a six and Oman’s chase was almost over at 58/6.

Rafiullah was Aayan Afzal Khan’s second victim and the hosts stared at a heavy defeat with the score at 80/7.

Basil Hameed joined the wicket-taking party as he clean bowled Shakeel Ahmed to leave Oman at 99/8 at the start of 16th over.

Pratik Athavale played a valiant knock to only narrow the margin of defeat with a 30-ball 49 that included four boundaries and three hits over the ropes along with Fayyaz Butt, who remained unbeaten on 23 off 16 balls as Oman ended a disappointing final at 149/9.

Besides Siddique’s three-wicket haul, Muhammad Farooq and Aayan Afzal Khan took two wickets each.

Earlier, a skipper’s knock by Muhammad Waseem helped the UAE put up a strong total of 204/4.

Put to bat first, UAE openers, Alishan Sharafu and Waseem played with ease and dominated the Oman attack as they raced to 59 runs in powerplay with the 50-run stand coming in just 5.2 overs.

Both the batters displayed poise and hit the loose deliveries to boundaries and kept a steady run-scoring rate before Oman skipper Zeeshan Maqsood got the breakthrough in the tenth over of the match as he sent back Sharafu for 34.

The 93-run partnership laid the foundation of a strong total and as Oman bowlers struggled to find success, Waseem and Vishnu Sukumaran put on another quick 59-run stand. Sukumaran made 18 and was out in the 16th over. A late charge by Asif Khan who slammed a 16-ball unbeaten 38 helped the team cross 200-run mark after Waseem was dismissed by Bilal Khan in the 19th over.

Waseem’s ton came off 55 balls with six boundaries and six maximums.

UAE were 181/3 at that stage but Asif’s blitz, which included five boundaries and two sixes, steered them to 204/4.

Bilal was the most successful bowler for the hosts with 2/35 while Shakeel Ahmed and Maqsood bagged a wicket each as seven bowlers were tried out.

Brief scores: UAE 204/4 (Muhammad Waseem 100, Alishan Sharafu 34, Asif Khan 38*; Bilal Khan 2/35) beat Oman 149/9 (Pratik Athavale 49, Khalid Kail 30; Junaid Siddique 3/38, Aayan Afzal Khan 2/29, Muhammad Farooq 2/30).