Wednesday, December 08
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Oman lose match but win hearts

19 Oct 2021 By ASHOK PUROHIT

Fancied and experienced Bangladesh bounce back from their opening game defeat to down the hosts in a well-fought match

Muscat – The crowd had started queuing up hours before the start of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match between the hosts Oman and Bangladesh at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground.

There were expatriates from Bangladesh who had turned up in thousands to cheer their national team and there were also a sizeable group of fans backing Oman.

There was an air of expectancy for the hosts after their solid opening day win against PNG while for Bangladesh, it was a do-or-die match as a defeat would have ended their hopes.

Under pressure to perform, the Bangla Tigers rose to the occasion and won the match by 26 runs but not before overcoming some tense moments from a spirited Oman side.

There were times when Oman had the upper hand but the wealth of experience their rivals were loaded with turned the scales in their favour.

Oman went down fighting against a much-higher ranked T20 and a Test side but certainly won the hearts of all for their fightback.

For Bangladesh, the experienced and popular stars, Shakib al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman, along with Mohammad Naim, shone to keep them alive with first points.

Earlier in the day, Scotland registered their second successive win to stay top but with Bangladesh and Oman having one win each, Thursday’s final round games will add more thrill and excitement as all three have chances to advance to Super 12 stage.

For Oman, having restricted Bangladesh to 153, the chase was on course till the in-form opener Jatinder Singh was at the crease.

However, his exit in the 13th over for a 33-ball 40, which included four fours and a six, was the turning point for Bangladesh who then banked on their experience to shut out the game in the remaining overs.

Earlier, Naim’s 50-ball 64 laid the foundation for Bangladesh to go for a big score, but Oman bowlers fought back as they restricted them from 101 for two in the 14th over to 153 all out.

Shakib made a useful contribution of 42 off 29, while fast bowlers Bilal Khan and Fayyaz Butt grabbed three wickets each.

For the victors, Mahedi Hasan bowled a tight spell (1-14), before Mustafizur Rahman, erratic in his first spell, finished with four for 36.

Oman reached 57 for two in the seventh over and looked on course before Mahedi bowled two overs for six runs and claimed skipper Maqsood’s wicket.

But with Jatinder at the crease hopes were high for the hosts. However, he was dismissed when he swept for a catch to Liton Das at deep square leg off Shakib after displaying his array of strokes. He survived a dropped catch on ten, but when he got out, Oman’s real chance to grab a historic win also fizzled out.

Oman could hit just one four and a six after his dismissal.

Rahman’s woes

Mustafizur Rahman trapped Aqib Ilyas with his first ball of the match, but thereafter had a forgettable 15 minutes. He conceded five wides in the first over. In the next over, he dropped Kashyap Prajapati at short third man. As if all that was not enough, Mahmudullah dropped Jatinder off Rahman.

When Bangladesh began their innings, their woes of powerplays continued. They scored only 29 runs. Naim tonked three of his four sixes between midwicket and wide long-on, also bringing out a straight drive and a reverse hit. He added 80 for the third wicket with Shakib but was dismissed in the 17th over.

Oman catching was below par and that cost them runs and let Bangladesh back into the game.

Naim survived two drops on 18 and 26 with Prajapati guilty twice and Jatinder once.

But then Fayyaz Butt’s stunning return catch off a Mahedi smash and Ilyas’ direct hit from point running out Shakib lifted Oman’s mood as they bounced back on the field.

Oman then took all their catches, including Jatinder, who took two near the boundary line.

Bangladesh finished meekly as they scored just 41 runs, losing six wickets as Kaleemullah, Butt and Bilal Khan bowled out Bangladesh off the last ball of the innings.

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