Asia Cup T20 Qualifiers: UAE thrash Oman by 71 runs to enter into main round
Afghanistan's hopes were dashed as Muhammad Usman's pyrotechnics lighted up Fatullah and handed UAE a berth in the Asia Cup 2016.
UAE produced a thoroughly dominant display to demolish Oman in the final match of the Asia Cup Qualifiers in Fatullah to progress into the main event undefeated. The victory which knocked the highly fancied Afghanistan team out of the equation could lay down the marker for what promises to be an engrossing tournament.
Coming into the match, UAE’s task was simple- win the match and go through. For Oman, though, an out of the box performance could only spark some hopes of a miraculous turnaround. Their task was made easier when they won the toss and predictably chose to chase down a target.
The new-ball duo of Bilal Khan and Sufyan Mehmood were accurate with their line and posed a significant threat to the UAE openers. The pressure was built up and soon Rohan Mustafa got himself run-out in a bizarre fashion.
Though he wanted the single and took off initially, the chaos in the field disturbed his concentration. Failing to land his bat properly after a lazy trudge meant that Oman got off to a great start.
However, Muhammad Kaleem joined hands with the in-form Mohammad Shahzad to thwart the Oman bowlers. They put on a formidable partnership for the second wicket and ensured that the foundation was laid. Despite a brief stutter in the middle-overs, UAE reached a daunting total of 172 partly due to the final flourish provided by Muhammad Usman.
Apart from Aamir Kaleem’s canny spin, the other bowlers failed to strike regularly leaving Oman with an almost impossible task of overhauling the target within 13.5 overs to progress to the final round.
The ominous chase ensured that the batsmen had to go after every delivery to create a miracle. But, the fearlessness turned into recklessness and Oman lost a flurry of wickets in the power play. The medium pace combination of Mohammad Naveed and Qadeer Ahmed ran through the batting lineup to reduce their opposition to 38/4.
Then, the part-time bowlers joined in and struck consistently to consign Oman to 60/7. Amidst all the carnage, opener Zeeshan Maqsood played a lone hand and attempted to form partnerships with the lower order.
The final target turned out to be far out of their reach as the batsman were content with merely surviving in the middle as the match meandered to its end.
Consequently, UAE romped home comfortably and would now rub shoulders with the big boys in the main event. The qualifiers served as a prelude to the main tournament with plenty of drama and tense action.
Brief Scores: UAE 172/6 from 20 overs (Kaleem 50, Usman 46, Aamir 4-36) beat Oman 101/8 from 20 overs (Maqsood 46, Naveed 2-14, Ahmed 2-25) by 71 runs.
UAE won by 71 runs and progressed to the Asia Cup.