After a five-year gap, the ICC T20 World Cup is on its way with eight teams playing in the qualifying round for a spot in the super’s stage. Oman and Papua New Guinea (PNG) locked horns in the curtain raiser in Al Amerat. Electing to field first, the home team Oman, were off to the perfect start when they dismissed both the openers of PNG for a duck. However, Asad Vala, the skipper of PNG and Charles Amini, stitched an 81-run partnership for the third wicket. But, after the dismissal of Amini, PNG lost their way and ended up posting only 129/9.
In reply, Oman openers Jatinder Singh and Aqib Ilyas took it all the way. Apart from a drop catch by Simon Atai off Ilyas in the 11th over, PNG were not at all contention. Both the openers stayed unseparated till the end and handed Oman a 10-wicket win in the 2021 T20 WC opener. There were few notable stats from Match 1 and here is list of few:
Starting off with a maiden
One among the seasoned campaigners of Oman, Bilal Khan provided an excellent start to the 2021 edition of the ICC T20 WC. Bowling the first over, he picked up the wicket of the dangerous Tony Ura in the fifth ball after conceding four dots and then finished off the over without conceding a run. By virtue of it, he became the first ever bowler in the history of T20 WC to bowl a maiden in the first over of an edition.
Openers packed off for a duck
In their first ever T20 WC appearance, PNG were off to their worst possible start. Ura their most bankable batsman in the recent times and Lega Saika were both dismissed for ducks. Ura in the first over and Saika in the next. This was only the fifth time in a T20 WC innings where both openers suffered a duck. The last instance was in 2014 when Pakistan openers, Ahmed Shehzad and Kamran Akmal were packed off for a golden duck and a three-ball duck against West Indies in Dhaka.
A captain’s special by Zeeshan Maqsood
It was a sensational come-back by the captain of Oman, Zeeshan Maqsood. After conceding 11 runs in the first over he bowled, Maqsood roared back into the scenes with a three-wicket over in his second. In his upcoming over he bagged one more wicket to register the first four-wicket haul by an Omanis bowler in T20 WC. More to his glory, his spell of 4/20 in his match against PNG is the joint-best spell by a captain in T20 WC. Daniel Vettori against India in 2007 in Johannesburg also registered similar bowling figures.
A stupendous start
Chasing a moderate total, Oman needed a good start from their openers and what they got was more than expected. Barring the one catch drop in the 11th over, both openers had a chanceless innings. They stayed till the end unseparated to hand Oman their first win. The partnership of an unbeaten 131 is the highest partnership for any wicket for a pair from an associate nation in T20 WC. Previously, there was only one 100-run partnership by an associate nation pair and that was by Kevin O’Brian and Stuart Poynter (101) in 2014 against Netherlands in Sylhet.
Oman joins an elite list
Irrespective of the grade of cricket, chasing a target of 130+ without losing a wicket in T20Is is a massive achievement. Today, Oman did that with ease against PNG. By doing so, they joined an elite list of teams to win a chase with 10-wickets in hand. Australia against Sri Lanka in 2007 and South Africa against Zimbabwe in 2012, are the other two teams to achieve this T20 WC.
Jatinder Singh announces himself
Carrying the burden of being the most successful batsman for Oman in recent times, Jatinder set the stage ablaze. In T20Is since 2019, Jatinder has scored over 600 runs for Oman with four 50+ scores including today. Not only did he register the first half-century for an Omanis batsman, his score of an unbeaten 73 is the highest score for an associate nation batsman in T20 WC. Previously, Tom Cooper of Netherlands had scored an unbeaten 72 against Zimbabwe in Sylhet in 2014.