Opening game of the T20 World Cup was underway at the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium. Was an emotional start to the tournament as both Oman and PNG camps broke down in tears during national anthems. Was a captain’s day out in the middle as Zeeshan and Vala had a day to remember before Omani openers stole show.
Oman having won the toss opt to bowl first. OMAN’S XI : Jatinder Singh, Khawar Ali, Aqib Ilyas, Zeeshan Maqsood(C), Naseem Khushi(wk), Prajapathi, Mohammad Nadeem, Ayan Khan, Sandeep Goud, Kaleemullah, Bilal Khan.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA’S XI : Tony Ura, Assad Vala(C), Charles Amini, Lega Siaka, Norman Vanua, Sese Bau, Simon Atai, Kiplin Doriga(wk), Nosaina Pokana, Damien Ravu, Kabua Morea.
World Cup debut nerves for PNG as openers, Tony Ura and Lega Siaka walked back on ducks; new ball bowlers, Bilal and Khaleemullah bag wickets in their firsts. PNG fought their way back hard as Charles Amini and Assad Vala got PNG back in the contest, 1st run was on board for PNG in the last ball of 2nd over that was followed by some great boundaries and maximums to finish the powerplay with 40-2 on board. Amini and Vala continued to guide PNG and 50 with a maximum was on board for PNG. Runs, boundaries and maximums kept flowing for PNG before desperate Oman had a wicket as Nadeem with a direct hit got Oman back as the 81 run stand saw curtains as Amini walked back for a fine 37(26). Assad Vala got to his half century in style with a six, a captain lead this team from the front but soon was dismissed on 56(43) by Khaleemullah. Zeeshan Maqsood was in to bowl the 16th over where he gave away just 1 run and striked 3 wickets as Norman, Sese and Kiplin walked back in the same over. Following overs saw Bilal and Zeeshan bag a wicket more and PNG from the 16th over didn’t manage a single boundary or maximum and with a few 1’s and 2’s got themselves to 129. A middle order collapse from PNG, 102-4 to 118-9 PNG fell a long way out real quick.
Bilal and Khaleemullah in their 1st picked up wickets and set the tone early but initially other bolwers didn’t respond well and was a comeback over from Zeeshan that saw PNG’s hopes shatter as Oman did well to restrict Oman for a low 129. Bilal, Zeeshan and Aqib bowled 4 each with Bilal and Zeeshan being the successful bowlers with 2 and 4 wickets respectively. Khaleemullah and Nadeem bowled 3 each with Khaleemullah bagging a couple. Khawar bowled a couple and was the only bowler on show who was expensive.
Oman in reply were off to a great start, not chasing a big total and Omani openers Aqib and Jatinder went well on their ends. Aqib was the attacker and Jatinder did well to rotate strike and with great stroke play the duo finsihed powerplay on 46-0. Omani openers changed roles as Aqib started to rotate strike and Jatinder accelerated post powerplay and got in action with boundaries and power blows for maximums, at halfway mark Oman were 88-0. Jatinder Singh in style with a maximum got to his half century and Oman were past the 100 run mark. 14th over saw Aqib Ilyas with a single get to his fine half century and Jatinder Singh with a maximum gets the winning runs for Oman, both openers Aqib and Jatinder remaind unbeaten on 50(43) and 73(42) respectively. A dominant and comprehensive 10 wicket win for Oman in their opening game.
Desperate PNG looking for a wicket tried several options. Ravu in his 3 and Amini in his 2.4 were expensive on display, Pokana bowled a couple and was the only good on show. Morea and Siaka bowled couple each and as other were expensive, Assad and Aati were no different. A wicket in the tournament for PNG will be a wait.
Nervy start for PNG but were back in with a fantastic 81 partnership before an over of 3 wickets shattered hopes of PNG and never were able to recover and a no show from tailenders was just disappointing. Oman with bat with pure ease got a comprehensive 10 wicket win and are up and running with a win. That was the opening game between co-hosts, Oman and debutant side PNG.