Muscat – Oman skipper Arjun Dhiman’s allround performance, which included a career-best haul of six for 18, powered the hosts to a 201-run victory over Bhutan while Bahrain defeated Saudi Arabia by 57 runs on the opening day of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2- Asia Qualifier at the Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) Ground on Thursday.
The opening day’s action saw two matches in Group A and it was hosts’ skipper who stole the limelight. Having called the toss correctly, Oman’s hopes for a flying start at the OCA 1 ground were dashed by the Bhutan bowlers.
Oman openers – Devansh Loya and Lakshmi Satish – returned to the pavilion early and when Aditya Gurumukhi departed for a duck, becoming the second victim of Regser Namgyel, the hosts were in a precarious situation at 26/3 in the ninth over.
Skipper Dhiman got into the rescue act and along with Aryan Bisht stitched a 64-run fourth wicket partnership.
Dhiman departed in the 20th over for 47 off 39 balls that included six boundaries. Bisht continued to score runs sedately and dropped anchor. Along with Tanuj Sivakumar, the pair forged the highest partnership of the innings with a stand of 73 runs. However, both departed at 163 as Anand Mongar struck off successive deliveries in the 33rd over.
Bisht, who emerged as the match’s top-scorer with 60, faced 77 balls and hammered the only six of the match.
Oman’s lower-order batters came up with handy contributions as Siddh Mehta (23), Glen Menezes (30 n.o.) and Rahil Habibulla (23) guided the team to reach 255/9 in 50 overs.
Karma Dorji (3-47) was the most successful bowler for Bhutan while Mongar and Namgyel picked up two each.
Chasing a challenging total, Bhutan batters were caught in a spin web of Dhiman, who ran through the rival batting to finish with figures of 6.5-2-18-6.
Sivakumar, another off-spinner, gave Dhiman good support as he claimed 3/18 while pacer Mohammed Arafat Islam took the other wicket as Bhutan were skittled out for 54 in 21st over.
Except for Tashi Dorji, who made a 31-ball 22, no batter could enter the double digits. Five of the batters even failed to open their account.
Arjun Dhiman, Oman Captain said: “We did well in the match. It is a good start to the tournament. We still have a long way to go.
“We had a topsy-turvy start batting at the start but then myself and Aryan [Bisht] steadied the ship. Our lower and middle order provided a good finish. The bowlers did well and I bowled decently. Overall, it was a great win. Hopefully, we can continue with the winning momentum.”
Aryan Pande’s knock of 47 and Muhammed Ali’s tidy spell of 3/11 led Bahrain to a 57-run win over Saudi Arabia in a Group A match at the OCA 2 ground on Thursday.
Put to bat first, Bahrain were restricted to 159 in 37.1 overs.
Saudi bowlers justified their skipper’s decision to bowl first and had Bahrain batters in all kinds of trouble in the early overs.
Bahrain skipper Aryan Ashwin was the first to go in the sixth over and what followed was a procession as Bahrain were left struggling at 57/4 in 13th over.
Opening batter Ananth Krishnan Natesan (30) kept one end intact while his teammates came and went as Sashwath Prasad and Varun Mudaliar struck in tandem.
Natesan’s exit had Bahrain slide further to 78/6 in the 20th over but Pande forged a crucial stand of 45 runs with Muhammad Ali (16) to give his team a fighting total as Bahrain were bowled out for 159. Pande’s knock came off 58 deliveries and included a four and a six.
Zuhair and Mudaliar took three wickets each while Prasad had two in his kitty.
Saudi Arabia lost two quick wickets in the second over and were 3/13 in the seventh over. A 45-run stand with Mohammad Sunasara (54) and Zuhair (25) was the only time Saudi Arabia had their hopes high of a fightback. But once the stand was broken, the other batters faded away as Saudi Arabia were bowled out for 102 in 30.5 overs.
Muhammad Ali, who made his debut, was the pick of bowlers with three wickets in his seven overs that included a maiden. Wazir Ahmad, Nadith Tennakoon, Shashank Shukla were among the wickets with two wickets each.
Bahrain’s Muhammad Ali, Player of the Match, said: “Very happy with the win. It was my debut and I am glad to have contributed in the victory. Overall, it was a good result for us.”
On Saturday, Oman will play Saudi Arabia while Bahrain will take on Bhutan.
Friday will witness Group B matches with Qatar taking on Singapore at OCA 1 ground and Hong Kong meeting Thailand at the adjoining ground.