WT20 : Introducing Oman

WT20 : Introducing Oman

Who are Oman?

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The Oman Cricket Board became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2000, and gained Associate status in 2014. Oman has twice participated in the final qualification process for the World Cup. It was placed ninth at the 2005 ICC Trophy and 11th at the 2009 World Cup Qualifier.

Also Read : Ireland vs Oman, World T20 Preview

Oman entered the qualifier as arguable the underdog of all 14 sides looking for the 6 qualification places, ranked 29th in the World and up against some of the associate heavyweights. They defied all expectations though to make history in Dublin. Oman is coached by Duleep Mendis, the former Sri Lankan captain, who is trying to guide the team into ensuring progress is continuous, one step at a time.

“If they make improvements from what they have done in this tournament (2015 World T20 Qualifier), I don’t see why they can’t compete favourably in India against some of the lesser teams. You never know – Twenty20, in a short game, you can spring a surprise on even the best teams.” – Derek Pringle, technical adviser for Oman.

History: In June 2014, Oman was upgraded from an Affiliate member of the ICC to an Associate member. Oman went on to win its next major international tournament, the 2015 ACC Twenty20 Cup, thus qualifying for ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 in Ireland and Scotland. By defeating Namibia in a knockout match at the Qualifier, Oman finished inside the top six teams of the tournament, thus qualifying for the ICC World Twenty20 2016 to be held in India, and gaining Twenty20 International status until at least 2019.

The team then made its T20I debut in the fifth-place play-off against Afghanistan, and later in the year played bilateral T20I series against Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and United Arab Emirates. Oman had a chance to qualify for the 2016 Asia Cup in Bangladesh, but was beaten by a clinical UAE side by 71-runs in the third and final qualifying game.

Pool: Oman is in Group A, alongside Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands.

Captain: Sultan Ahmed

Coach: Duleep Mendis

Preview: Oman recently played in the 2016 Asia Cup qualifiers and was up against UAE, Hong Kong and Afghanistan. They started well in their first outing with a five-run win over Hong Kong, with Jatinder Singh hitting a solid 42 off 35 balls. But it stumbled against Afghanistan, losing by three wickets in a tight encounter where Adnan Ilyas and Zeeshan Maqsood both hit fifties. Oman eventually failed to qualify for the main tournament after a 71-run defeat against the UAE.

Maqsood, Ilyas and Jatinder are the mainstay of Oman’s batting. Oman will bank on the solid opening pair of Maqsood and Jatinder to give them a good start. If it encounters track that aid turn in India, the team will look to the likes of Amir Kaleem and Zeeshan Siddiqui to make an impact.

Strengths: Oman has a pretty solid outfit as coached by Duleep Mendis and the spinners are being helped by Sunil Joshi, the former Indian all-rounder. Joshi had a distinguished domestic career that spanned nearly two decades, and knows all there is to know about Indian conditions.

Oman also gave a fairly good account of itself in the Asia Cup qualifying rounds. Zeeshan Maqsood scored 115 in three matches, and was well backed up by Jatinder Singh. Adnan Ilyas, the 31-year-old right-hand batsman, also hit a fifty against Afghanistan.
Oman’s pace spearheads, Bilal Khan and Mehran Khan, bring variety and a left-right combination, and both have posed questions to batsmen.

Recent Form: Lost to Afghanistan by 27 runs, Lost to Afghanistan by 12 runs, Won against Hong Kong by 5 runs, Lost to Afghanistan by 3 wickets, Lost to UAE by 71 runs.

Star Player: Jatinder Singh

Jatinder Singh, Oman’s opening batsman was born in Punjab in India but raised in Oman. Jatinder first represented Oman at the Under-19 level in five matches in the 2007 ACC Under-19 Elite Cup and served as wicket-keeper.

He made his Twenty20 International debut for Oman in the fifth-place playoff of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, against Afghanistan.

Jatinder’s biggest impact for Oman was in the World T20 qualifier match against the Netherlands which Oman won by six wickets. Jatinder scored an unbeaten 65 off 56 balls and took part in a match-winning stand of 38 with Zeeshan Maqsood, taking Oman over the line in the chase.

Jatinder’s T20I career includes 151 runs in 9 matches at a strike rate of 86.28. His overall T20 career though has 482 runs in 19 games at a slightly higher strike rate of 93.23.

One to Watch: Zeeshan Siddiqui

Born in Karachi in Pakistan, Siddiqui made his Oman debut aged 28, at the ACC Twenty20 Cup in Kuwait in October 2007. He is a leg-spinning all-rounder who can also open the batting when needed, and is considered a vital cog in the Oman side along with Jatinder Singh.

He made his Twenty20 International debut against Afghanistan at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, and is one of the veteran members of the side at the age of 36.

Zeeshan played a vital role in the fourth qualifying play-off against Namibia, making a good contribution in a remarkable chase that Oman won with an over to spare. He brought up his half-century off just 32 balls and booked Oman’s first-ever trip to an ICC world event.

#That6 Hitter: Zeeshan Maqsood

With each team preview we’ll be looking at the player most likely to provide the most 6 hitting during #WT20! Oman start us off and it’s the powerful left-handed opener in focus for Oman. He sprung to global attention during the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, in particular with his innings of 86 off 41 balls against Canada including 5 x huge sixes.

With a career strike-rate in excess of 130, Maqsood will be looking to go large at #WT20 in Dharamsala.

Key Facts
• This is Oman’s first ever appearance at a global event. It went into the Qualifier in Scotland and Ireland with a global ranking of 29 and was considered the outsider among all 14 teams before it sealed a famous qualification with a stunning win over Namibia.
• Oman is banking on experienced players heavily in this tournament. Eight of the men its 15-player squad are already over 30, and Munis Ansari, the right-arm pacer, is set to turn 30 in April
• Adnan Ilyas has the most number of T20I runs for Oman with 241 at an average of 26.77 and a strike-rate of 121.71. He also has Oman’s highest T20I score, with 54 off 27 balls against Afghanistan in Fatullah in February 2016.
• Bilal Khan is the only Oman bowler with more than 10 wickets in T20Is for Oman. Bilal has 14 wickets in nine matches at a good economy rate of 7.08. He is also the only one to have taken a four-wicket haul in a T20I for Oman, with 4 for 20 against Hong Kong in November 2015 in Abu Dhabi.

Key Match: The Netherlands

Oman is in a tough group that also has Bangladesh, which has been steadily on the rise since the ICC World Cup2015. There is also a fiery and competitive Ireland side, with rich experience of playing in major ICC events and great depth. The Netherlands is also tough side, but it has been a recent opponent for Oman, and the team will look at its match against the Dutch side as an opportunity to secure a win.

Oman has played Netherlands once before and gotten the better of the contest with Jatinder Singh’s unbeaten 65 guiding the team to a six-wicket win. Munis Ansari, the fast bowler had also contributed with a four-wicket haul that left Oman a target of 136 to chase.

What people are saying about them:

“If they make improvements from what they have done in this tournament (2015 World T20 Qualifier), I don’t see why they can’t compete favourably in India against some of the lesser teams. You never know – Twenty20, in a short game, you can spring a surprise on even the best teams.” – Derek Pringle, technical adviser for Oman.

“It really, very frankly, exceeded my expectations because to beat Netherlands and Afghanistan, and then the all-important game against Namibia, they definitely exceeded expectations.” – Duleep Mendis, the Oman head coach.

“We were training under 45-50 degrees for four months, morning, afternoon and every day. So to come to this level, we wanted to first focus on fitness because we were lacking in fitness earlier.” – Jatinder Singh on how the team worked on its fitness to compete better.

Pommie Mbangwa Prediction – Oman: Group Stage-in with the big boys now and it would be a big surprise if they were successful in overturning one of the sides in their group. They can be very proud of having made it to the tournament and must aim high but I feel they are one of the sides that must learn as much as possible from being at the tournament so to try and continue the improvement of their players.

Squad: Sultan Ahmed (Capt/Wk), Aamir Kaleem(Vice-Capt), Syed Amir Ali, Munis Ansari, Jatinder Singh, Ajay Lalcheta, Mehran Khan, Rajesh Ranpura, Sufyan Mehmood, Vaibhav Wategaonkar, Zeeshan Ahmad Siddiqui, Zeeshan Maqsood, Bilal Khan, Adnan Ilyas, Aaqib Ilyas

Fixtures: Wednesday, Mar 9: v Ireland (Dharamsala), Friday, Mar 11: v Netherlands (Dharamsala), Sunday, Mar 13: v Bangladesh (Dharamsala)