MUSCAT: Papua New Guinea’s Lega Siaka is castled by Oman pacer Kaleemullah (not in picture) during their match at the Al-Amerat Cricket Ground on Sunday.—AFP
MUSCAT: Papua New Guinea’s Lega Siaka is castled by Oman pacer Kaleemullah (not in picture) during their match at the Al-Amerat Cricket Ground on Sunday.—AFP

MUSCAT: Skipper Zeeshan Maqsood grabbed Oman’s best-ever bowling figures of 4-20 to set up a crushing 10-wicket win for the hosts in their Twenty20 World Cup opener against debutants Papua New Guinea here on Sunday.

Zeeshan’s haul included three wickets in one over to restrict kept PNG to 129 for nine in the Group ‘B’ first-round match at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground outside Muscat.

Openers Aqib Ilyas (50 from 43 balls) and Jatinder Singh (73 from 42) then clattered the PNG bowlers around the ground without being parted to steer Oman home with 6.2 overs to spare, handing Papua New Guinea a tough lesson in their first-ever World Cup outing.

The 131-run stand was Oman’s best partnership for any wicket in a T20 and the chase, without losing a wicket, was the third-highest in men’s T20 Internationals.

Jatinder reached his fifty — the first for an Omani batter in World Cups — with the third of his sixes and brought up victory with the fourth by which stage Aqib had joined him in the half-century club.

But Zeeshan remained the hero with his left-arm spin as he struck thrice in one over to rattle PNG who had lost both their openers — Tony Ura and Lega Siaka —for ducks to the new-ball pair of Bilal Khan and Kaleemullah, who goes by just one name.

PNG captain Assad Vala, who made 56 off 43 balls, and Charles Amini, who smashed 37, hit back with an attacking record third-wicket partnership of 81.

But Mohammad Nadeem ran out the left-handed Amini with a direct throw at the non-striker’s end to break the stand and that opened the door for Zeeshan.

“They were batting very well when I got the wickets. And because we got the wickets, they couldn’t put on a big total,” said player-of-the-match Zeeshan. “I just try to keep it tight and not give away loose balls. We knew the wicket was playing very well, we needed to make sure we didn’t give away loose balls and easy boundaries.”

Slow left-armer Zee­shan sent back Norman Vanua, Sese Bau and Kiplin Doriga in the space of five deliveries and later took one more as Papua New Guinea collapsed from 102-3.

“It wasn’t a good start with the bat, losing two wickets with no runs,” said Vala. “But we fought back very well to get in a position to put on a good total. That collapse in the end was very disappointing.”

Five years ago, Oman sprung a major surprise when they beat Ireland in their opening T20 World Cup game in India.

Scoreboard

PAPUA NEW GUINEA:

T.P. Ura b Bilal 0

L. Siaka b Kaleemullah 0

A. Vala c Jatinder b Kaleemullah 56

C.J.A. Amini run out 37

S. Bau c Jatinder b Zeeshan 13

N. Vanua b Zeeshan 1

S.K. Atai c Ayaan b Bilal 3

K. Doriga c Goud b Zeeshan 0

D.A. Ravu c Nadeem b Zeeshan 1

K.V. Morea not out 6

N. Pokana not out 5

EXTRAS (LB-6, W-1) 7

TOTAL (for nine wkts, 20 overs) 129

FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-0, 3-81, 4-102, 5-112, 6-113, 7-113, 8-117, 9-118.

BOWLING: Bilal Khan 4-1-16-2; Kaleemullah 3-0-19-2; Aqib Ilyas 4-0-28-0; Mohammad Nadeem 3-0-23-0; Khawar Ali 2-0-17-0; Zeeshan Maqsood 4-0-20-4 (1w).

OMAN:

Aqib Ilyas not out 50

Jatinder Singh not out 73

EXTRAS (LB-2, W-3, NB-3) 8

TOTAL (for no wkt, 13.4 overs) 131

DID NOT BAT: Khawar Ali, Zeeshan Maqsood, K.H. Prajapati, Naseem Khushi, Mohammad Nadeem, Ayaan Khan, S. Goud, Kaleemullah, Bilal Khan.

BOWLING: Morea 2-0-18-0 (1w); Ravu 3-0-28-0 (2nb, 1w); Pokana 2-0-15-0 (1nb); Atai 1-0-9-0; Amini 2.4-0-31-0; Vala 1-0-11-0; Siaka 2-0-17-0 (1w).

RESULT: Oman won by 10 wickets.

UMPIRES: H.D.P.K. Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and C.B. Gaffaney (New Zealand).

TV UMPIRE: R.A. Kettleborough (England).

MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Madugalle (Sri Lanka).

PLAYER-OF-THE-MATCH: Zeeshan Maqsood (Oman).

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2021

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