England thump Oman by eight wickets

Sports Friday 14/June/2024 08:44 AM
By: Ashok Purohit
England thump Oman by eight wickets

North Sound, Antigua: Oman’s hopes of ending their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 on a high were dashed by a resurgent England as the Men in Red lost to the defending champions, England, at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Thursday.

The gulf in the class between the holders and an Associate member was reflected clear as England cruised to a eight-wicket victory, chasing down a paltry target of 48 in just 3.1 overs to keep their hopes alive in the tournament as they scored 50/2.

Phil Salt smashed two maximums off the first two balls from Bilal Khan to set the chase on track with England knowing that they could surpass Scotland’s net run-rate if they reach victory in 5.2 overs.

Bilal, however, had Salt’s stumps flattened off the third delivery and while Kaleemullah got England’s second wicket of Will Jacks in the next over, skipper Jos Buttler hammered 22 runs in Bilal’s third over with four boundaries and a maximum. Jonny Bairstow hit the winning boundary as England kept their hopes alive to progress with an authoritative victory.

Duleep Mendis-coached side now travel back to Muscat with a mixed bag of emotions, having showed good fighting spirit in the first two games in Kensington Oval in Barbados before being outplayed and outclassed in the remaining two matches in Antigua and failing to open their account.

Put to bat first, Oman batters collapsed like nine pins in front of an accurate and clinical pace attack of the champions as Jofra Archer and Mark Wood reduced Oman to 25/4 inside the powerplay.

The pace duo of Archer and Wood dismantled the top order and the introduction of spin after powerplay (six overs) also made no difference as Adil Rashid struck off his first ball, with skipper and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler coming up with a smart stumping.

Oman openers Pratik Athavale and Kashyap Prajapati made a quiet start with just one run coming off Reece Topley’s first over. Athavale hammered Archer off his second ball, charging down to smash it through to extra cover but the pacer had his revenge off the very next ball as a mistimed shot of Athavale went straight to Phil Salt at cover.

Skipper Aqib Ilyas hit a boundary off the second delivery he faced from Archer, a cut though point, but Archer returned in his next over to send Oman skipper back in the hut as Ilyas was caught at backward point by Will Jacks to leave Oman 16/2. Zeeshan Maqsood would have to make a walk back had Moeen Ali taken a sharp chance in the slips in the same over.

Prajapati’s six off Topley in the fifth over was the only silver lining for Oman before Wood was introduced into the attack, a move that dealt a body blow to Oman. Wood claimed the wicket of Maqsood off his first ball and then grabbed his second wicket off the final ball of the over with Prajapati caught at midwicket by Liam Livingstone for 9.

Oman were reeling at 25/4 and were in danger of folding up soon as Khalid Kail was stumped for 1 to leave them 25/5.

Shoaib Khan hit a four to point boundary off Rashid, but Wood had his 50th T20I wicket when Oman’s top-scorer in the tournament, Ayaan Khan dragged on a delivery from the pacer to leave the total at 32/6 and Wood’s figures reading 2-0-3-3.

Rashid picked another wicket as Mehran Khan was out for a duck and Oman were tottering at 33/7. The procession continued as Fayyaz Butt was clean bowled by Rashid and Oman were at woeful 36/8 in 11 overs.

Oman even looked in danger of slumping to the lowest total of the ongoing tournament. Uganda were bowled out for 39 by West Indies in Guyana during their group game.

However, a boundary by Kaleemullah took Oman past the ignominy of finishing with the unwanted record. Rashid came up with another googly to disturb the stumps of Kaleemullah as Oman slid to 47/9 in 13 overs and Rashid finished with a spell of 4/11.

Oman’s batting miseries were over in the next over as Archer had Shoaib Khan caught by Buttler with a running catch to end Oman’s innings at paltry 47.

Shoaib was the only batter to reach double digits with 11 while Archer returned with figures of 3.2-1-12-3.

England came into the match like wounded tigers and their bowlers pounced on the brittle Oman batting with only Topley going wicketless among the four bowlers pressed into service by skipper Buttler.

This was Oman’s lowest total in a T20I, the previous being 78 against Nepal at Oman Cricket Academy ground in Al Amerat in February 2022.

And it was also the lowest Oman total in a T20 World Cup, much lower than the 109 they scored against Namibia which they registered in Kensington Oval in Bridgetown in their opening Group B game. Prior to this edition, Oman’s lowest score in T20 World Cup history was 122 all out.