Muscat – The visiting AfghanAbdalyan (Afghanistan A) cricketers made a 2-0 clean sweep against hosts Oman, winning both the unofficial ODI matches, played at the Oman Cricket Academy grounds last week.
The AfghanAbdalyan players are currently on their maiden tour to Oman and will also feature in five T20 games.
The series comprising unofficial ODI and T20 matches is also providing the hosts a much-needed match practice ahead of the 2023 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Regional Final in Nepal later this month.
Duleep Mendis’ men will be among the eight nations vying for the sole spot for the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, co-hosted by the USA and West Indies.
In the first unofficial ODI match, AfghanAbdalyan won by 28 runs. Batting first, the visitors were restricted to 223 in 46.4 overs with Oman skipper Zeeshan Maqsood, Samay Shrivastav, Mohammed Nadeem and Ayaan Khan picking up two wickets apiece.
For Afghanistan A, Zubaid Akbari (76) and Mohammed Ishaq (57) slammed half-centuries in their total of 223 and the bowled then defended the modest target as they bowled Oman out for 195 in 47.5 overs.
Akbari and Abdul Malik (40) provided a strong opening wicket stand of 89 but after the partnership was broken by Maqsood in the 19th over, the visitors struggled against a tidy Oman attack. Akbari was looking good to reach the triple digits but was run out in the 31st over for 76 off 90 balls. A late onslaught from Ishaq, who scored 57 off 46, which included three boundaries and four maximums took the team past the 200-mark.
Oman’s chase was off to a flyer with Kashyap Prajapati and Pratik Athavale as they build a 116-run opening wicket partnership in 27 overs. Athavale’s run out for 51 changed the game as AfghanAbdalyan came back strongly to rip apart the top and middle order batting lineup of the hosts. Prajapati’s dismissal, yet another run out, for 80 in the 36th over saw a major collapse as Oman were bowled out for 195. Ayaan Khan was the only other batter to score in double digits with 17.
There were four run out dismissals in Oman’s innings while Naveed Zadran picked up three for 47.
In the second match, the hosts fared much better and though there was still one run out in the innings during their chase of 273, a sparkling innings of 88 off 97 balls from Shoaib Khan stood out. In fact, Shoaib missed out on a deserving century when he was run out in the 41st over with the hosts total at 221. His exit proved to be the turning point as along with Ayaan Khan (42), the pair had put on a 108-run fifth wicket stand.
Ayaan followed to the pavilion an over later with the total at 223 and despite a late charge from Siddharth Bukkapatnam with 22 off 19, Oman fell short by 15 runs as they were bowled out for 257 in 48.5 overs. Wafadar Momand was the pick of the bowlers with 3/66 while Naveed Zadran and Shahidullah took two wickets each. Skipper Zeeshan Maqsood (38) and Kahsyap Prajapati (24) were the other notable run-getters.
Earlier, AfghanAbdalyan put up a challenging total of 272/8 in 50 overs, with Abdul Malik hammering a strokeful century (117 off 128 balls). Nasir Jamal’s 57 and Mohammed Ishaq’s 11-ball 21 powered the tourists to a winning total. For Oman, Siddharth and Shrivastav claimed two wickets each.
Brief scores: Match 1: Afghanistan A 223 in 46.4 overs (Zubaid Akbari 76, Mohammed Ishaq 57; Zeeshan Maqsood 2/18, Samay Shrivastav 2/27, Mohammed Nadeem 2/27, Ayaan Khan 2/44) beat Oman 195 in 47.5 overs (Kashyap Prajapati 80, Pratik Athavale 51, Naveed Zadran 3/47).
Match 2: Afghanistan A 272/8 (Abdul Malik 117, Nasir Jamal 57; Siddharth Bukkapatnam 2/28, Samay Shrivastav 2/48) beat Oman 257 in 48.5 overs (Shoaib Khan 88, Ayaan Khan 42; Wafadar Momand 3/66, Naveed Zadran 2/47, Shahidullah 2/40).