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Credit to our bowlers for putting up a good show against Australia: Ilyas

7 Jun 2024

Bridgetown, Barbados – Oman skipper Aqib Ilyas loves to play with straight bat, be it on the field or off the ground. After his team lost by 39 runs to heavyweights Australia, their second successive defeat, in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup game on Thursday morning (Oman time), he said that “playing against a big team like Australia was a great experience.”

Speaking at the post-match presentation, Ilyas said: “Playing a team like Australia was a great experience especially after the Super Over against Namibia in the opener. Australia played really well today but credit to our bowlers putting up a good show against Australia and restricting them. On turning tracks our bowlers can do really well.”

The Oman skipper said: “Australia have top players in the side and we respect them. We had a grip on the game till the 14th over. We have to work on our batting. We have done in the past. If we can bat well in the powerplay it will be important for us and as a batter I have to do well there. Hopefully we will turn up better next time.”

Ilyas admitted that the reprieve for Marcus Stoinis proved costly. “We messed up and then he capitalised by scoring 26 runs in the over.”

We didn’t tick all three boxes: Ayaan Khan

Oman’s all-rounder and the team’s top-scorer against Australia, Ayaan Khan, said: “We had our moments against them today. We definitely are taking away lot of positives from this match.”

Ayaan said that “electing to bowl first was the correct decision” despite the surface turning slower and slower in the second innings.

“It was a fresh wicket. Today is a sunny day and it didn’t rain, so we thought there should be a little bit moisture and it will have rough patches as well. The ball will spin a lot. Because only in one day the wicket will not change. We knew there would be a little bit of improvement [pitch]. The ball will come on the bat properly. We were just hoping that if we get to bowl first, we will restrict them early.”

Ayaan added: “We always talk about positives and that is what we are trying to do to play some aggressive cricket. Unfortunately, we didn’t tick all three boxes tonight. Especially in a T20 game, if you tick all three boxes you will be on the winning side,” said Ayaan, who scored 36 off 30 deliveries before getting out to Adam Zampa.

“Like if we are going to tick the box in the powerplay, in the middle overs, in the last overs, if we tick boxes one by one – so the result should be different. Australia played really very well, they bowled on the targets, they didn’t panic on the field with the bat. If one of us in the middle overs played an inning like him (Marcus Stoinis), maybe we’d be on the winning side.”

Australia were restricted to 164/5, a slightly above par on a slow Kensington Oval surface but Ayaan and his team were still confident of achieving the target at the break.

“We have a long batting side, till the ninth, as you can see, the ninth batsman and the eighth one as well, they’re going to hit the ball easily. But what happened is when the partnership – we are having momentum, we are making a partnership, then suddenly a wicket fell down. We need to come one step back and then again start from zero.”

On playing against a team like Australia, Ayaan said: “You are playing against the champions, champion side, so you always have a chance to perform well and make yourself in front of the world. It’s a challenge that we are playing against them, but we played very aggressive and positive cricket in the middle. Of course, after the match, we’re going to talk to them and would like to take some good points and experience for the upcoming matches.”

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