Oman drub Kuwait to storm into semi-finals of ACC Men’s Premier Cup

Sports Wednesday 17/April/2024 18:52 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman drub Kuwait to storm into semi-finals of ACC Men’s Premier Cup

MUSCAT: Oman stormed into the semi-finals of the ACC Men’s Premier T20I Cup on Wednesday with a commanding 46-run win over Kuwait in a Group B match at the Oman Cricket Academy ground. 
Oman's victory propelled them into the semi-finals with an impeccable record of four consecutive wins, accumulating a maximum of eight points in the group stage. 

All-round display by skipper Zeeshan Maqsood (4/29 and 35) and Aqib Ilyas (3/14 and 34) and a record seventh-wicket stand between Ayaan Khan (45) and Rafiullah (23*) powered Oman’s march into the semi-finals where they will take on Hong Kong on Friday. 

Chasing 201 to win after Oman had put up a challenging total of 200/9, Kuwait were off to a flyer as Clinto Anto and Ravija Sandaruwan shared a 45-run stand in just 4 overs. Shakeel Ahmed got the breakthrough as he cleaned up Sandaruwan for 23 before Fayyaz Butt had Anto caught by wicketkeeper Pratik Athavale in the next over to stem the run flow. 

Anto departed after a quickfire 34 off 15 balls that included three fours and three sixes. 
Ilyas struck off the first ball after powerplay as he had Adnan Idrees leg before and Maqsood picked his first of the four victims in the tenth over as Kuwait slumped from 61/2 to 88/4. 

Ilyas got the key wicket of Meet Bhavsar in the 12th over to trigger a collapse as Kuwait batters went back in procession except for Bilal Tahir who stayed unbeaten on 33. 

Captain Maqsood removed his counterpart Mohammed Aslam and Sayed Monib in the same over and then bowled Nimish Lathief in his final over to have Kuwait down to 143/9 as they ended up at 154/9. 

Besides Maqsood and Ilyas, Fayyaz Butt and Shakeel Ahmed took a wicket apiece 
Earlier, Oman were put to bat and lost two early wickets with openers Kashyap Prajapati and Naseem Khushi back in the hut with the total 22/2 in the third over. Skipper Zeeshan Maqsood and Aqib Ilyas then rebuilt the innings with a 50-run third-wicket partnership as Oman finished the powerplay at 47/2. 

The 50-run stand came off 42 balls before Ilyas was dismissed for 34 in the 10th over. Maqsood was next to go for 35 with Oman at 92/4. Khalid Kail and Pratik Athavale were out for 15 each as Oman were struggling at 130/6. 

A brilliant record-breaking seventh-wicket partnership between Ayaan Khan and Rafiullah took the attack to the rival camp as they shared a 63-run stand, the highest for seventh-wicket in T20Is. They bettered the previous stand of 57 between Khurran Nawaz and Naseem Khushi.

Their 50-run stand came off just 15 balls with Ayaan on 27 and Rafiullah on 21. 
Ayaan was out for 20-ball 45 that included four sixes and two boundaries and Rafiullah stayed unbeaten on 23 off 11 balls with three hits to the ropes and one maximum as Oman finished at 200/9. 
Three of Oman batters – Khushi, Athavale and Fayyaz Butt were run out, something coach Duleep Mendis would be worried about. 
Adnan Idrees and Mohammed Aslam picked two wickets each. 
In the semi-finals, Oman will take on Hong Kong after the latter finished second in Group A behind Nepal.

 Both Hong Kong and Qatar were tied with four points each after four games, but Hong Kong’s seven-wicket win over Malaysia on Wednesday helped them gain a better net run-rate and scrape into the semis. 
Nepal won their fourth successive match on Wednesday with a six-wicket win over Saudi Arabia in a rain-curtailed match of eight overs a side. 

UAE will take on Nepal in the other semi-final, with both matches scheduled on Friday. 
UAE handed Cambodia a lesson as they won by nine wickets, racing to 79/1 in just 5.1 overs after bowling the rivals out for paltry 76 in 19 overs. UAE finished with six points while Kuwait came third with four points. 

Brief scores: Oman 200/9 (Aqib Ilyas 34, Zeeshan Maqsood 35, Ayaan Khan 45, Rafiullah 23*; Adnan Idrees 2/31, Mohammed Aslam 2/32) beat Kuwait 154/9 (Clinto Anto 34, Bilal Tahir 33*; Zeeshan Maqsood 4/29, Aqib Ilyas 3/14).