Qatar stuns Oman, Saudi Arabia routs Iran
February 24, 2020 | 11:58 PM
by Times News Service
Chasing Qatar’s 175, Oman looked in full control of the game when it was cruising at 77 for 1 in the 9th over. - Supplied photo

MUSCAT: Qatar sprang the first real surprise in ACC Western Region T20 Tournament, catching Oman short and napping in broad daylight in a 34-run win and sealing a spot in the semifinal with two back to back victories, here at OC Turf 2 in Amerat on Monday.

In the other morning game of the day, Saudi Arabia made its presence felt with an emphatic 9-wicket victory against Iran, the whipping boys of the tournament, here at OC Turf 1.

Chasing Qatar’s 175, Oman looked in full control of the game when it was cruising at 77 for 1 in the 9th over. Amir Kaleem’s departure for a forceful 32 off 18 opened the floodgates as Oman lost 9 wickets for only 64 runs in an inexplicable hurry to hit the ball in the air and perish when playing normal cricket would have been the safer route to victory.

The game started to turn in Qatar’s favour when captain Iqbal Hussain Chaudhry brought Muhammed Nadeem on to break the partnership which he instantly did by not only dismissing Kaleem but sending captain Zeeshan Maqsood and Suraj Kumar back to pavilion in no time.

Leg-spinner Tamoor Sajjad took the key wicket of opener Khawar Ali and then had Khurram Khan caught in front to put Qatar in the driver’s seat. There was no looking back as Oman failed to bounce back from a dramatic collapse and could not even play the full twenty overs, getting bowled out for 141 in 19.1 overs.

Kaleemullah’s two sixes in the final overs was the only glimmer of hope amidst the ruins but was clean bowled by Muhammed Awais Malik who, along with Nadeem, picked up three wickets each to hasten Oman’s fall.

Oman now must beat Maldives on Tuesday to confirm its passage to the semifinals.

Qatar captain Iqbal Hussain Chaudhry who held three lovely catches yesterday, was absolutely delighted after his team’s win over fancied Oman.

“We came here to prove Qatar is ready to play and compete at a higher level and I am really glad that we were able to secure an absolutely fantastic victory against such an accomplished side like Oman which has had so much international exposure. This was the game we wanted to win and hats off to our boys who rose to the occasion and performed so creditably well,” he added.

Qatar’s Kamran Khan won his second player of the match award in two days, for scoring an authoritative 54 off 40, including three huge hits over the fence.

He was involved in an 82-run opening partnership with Zaheeruddeen Ibrahim who struck a stylish 39. Khawar Ali added two more wickets to his four against Bahrain on Sunday.

Earlier, Iran had another forgettable outing against a spirited Saudi attack, limping its way to a lame 72 for 9. Five of Irani batsmen failed to open their account and even to reach this total, Iran had to thank Saudis for conceding 16 extras including 15 wides.

Faisal Khan, Adil Butt and Imran Yousaf all bowled exceptionally well, taking two wickets each.

Smarting from an opening day loss to Kuwait, Saudis came out all guns blazing, hammering their way to 73 in only 5.3 overs. Opener Abdul Waheed was particularly ruthless as he whacked an unbeaten 41 off only 16 balls.

Following his suoerb spell, Faisal Khan looked equally impressive with the bats too, scoring a breezy 24 off 13 including two big sixes.

Saudis take on UAE in an all-important match on Tuesday whereas Oman face Maldives to complete the two morning games.

Brief scores: Qatar 175 for 5 in 20 overs (Kamran Khan 54 – 5x4, 3x6, Zaheeruddeen Ibrahim 39 – 5x4, 1x6, Imal Malindu 26 – 4x4, Tamoor Sajjad 22 not out – 2x4, 1x6. Khawar Ali 2-26) defeated Oman 141 all out in 19.1 overs (Khawar Ali 38 – 5x4, Amir Kaleem 32 – 4x4, 1x6. Muhammed Awais Malik 3-28, Muhammed Nadeem 3-34, Tamoor Sajjad 2-21) by 34 runs. Player of the Match: Kamran Khan (Qatar).

Brief scores: Iran 72 for 9 in 20 overs (Mohammad Yousef 20 – 3x4, Ali Mohammadipour 18 – 2x4. Faisal Khan 2-14, Adil Butt 2-15, Imran Yousaf 2-21) lost to Saudi Arabia 73 for 1 in 5.3 overs (Abdul Waheed 41 not out – 8x4, 1x6, Faisal Khan 24 – 2x4, 2x6) by 9 wickets. Player of the Match: Abdul Waheed (Saudi Arabia).

Mustafa shines again as UAE soars into semis, Bahrain thrashes Maldives for first victory

Riding on Rohan Mustafa’s dependable talent, UAE booked itself a berth in the semifinals of the ACC Western Region T20 Tournament, beating Kuwait by 47 runs for its second win in two days.

UAE now tops Group B and would face the second-placed side in Group A which could be Oman if it beats Maldives on Tuesday in its third and last group game.

In the afternoon’s other game, Bahrain crushed winless Maldives by 65 runs to register its first victory in the tournament.

Involved in a 96-run opening partnership with Chirag Suri who struck a solid 51, Mustafa stamped his authority on the game from the very outset, driving, cutting and pulling his way to a vital 51 off 37 that kept Kuwait on a leather hunt for the first half of the innings. Buoyed by a great start, UAE went on to post a sizeable 186 for 5 on the board and ended up defending it rather comfortably too.

Apart from opener Ravija’s strokeful 49, Kuwait did not look like mounting a successful chase and folded up for 139 in the 18th over.

UAE captain Ahmed Raza was over the moon after his sealing a spot in the semis.

“We are absolutely delighted with the way this tournament has gone so far for us. Reaching the last four is obviously the icing on the cake. Kuwait showed in glimpses how good a team it is. Their opener Ravija played a wonderful knock and their fast bowler Sayed Monib was so good with the new ball,” he said.

Raza was all praise for Mustafa who has won his second consecutive player of the match award on Monday.

“He is one of the most important members of the team and we all do look up to him in crunch situations. Even today he batted so well up front and bowled some crucial overs whenever I threw the ball up to him. I hope he continues to perform the way he has so far,” said Raza.

“We are still in the Gulf and feeling at home, so there is no home advantage for anyone,” he added responding to a question on the probability of facing Oman in the semifinal on Wednesday.

Opener Sarfaraz Ali’s hard-hitting 50 off 22 balls that including five big sixes was the highlight of Bahrain’s imposing total of 186 for 9 which proved too good to chase for Maldives who could manage only 121 for 9 in its 20 overs. Mitutathrige Nilantha topscored with a stylish 41.

Brief scores: UAE 186 for 5 in 20 overs (Rohan Mustafa 51 – 5x4, 2x6, Chirag Suri 51 – 3x4, 1x6, Muhammed Usman 26 – 1x4, 2x6. Sayed Monib 2-30) beat Kuwait 139 all out in 17.4 overs (Ravija Sandaruwan 49 – 2x4, 4x6, Muhammed Aslam Mawfer 32 – 2x4, 1x6. Zahoor khan 3-17, Waheed Ahmed 3-25, Rohan Mustafa 1-30) by 47 runs.

Brief scores: Bahrain 186 for 9 in 20 overs (Sarfaraz Ali 50 – 3x4, 5x6, Muhammed Younis 25 – 5x4, Ammad Uddin 24 – 2x4, 2x6. Mututanthrige Nilantha 2-21, Ibrahim Hassan 2-30, Leem Shafeeq 2-32) trounced Maldives 121 for 9 in 20 overs (Mututanthrige Nilantha 40 – 5x4, Hassan Haziq 20 – 2x4, 1x6. Imran Masood 2-24, Junaid Aziz 2-24) by 65 runs.

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