MUSCAT: Oman arrived in Zimbabawe capital Harare on Sunday high on confidence for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier after a successful preparatory tour in South Africa. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier will be held in Zimbabwe (Harare and Bulawayo) from June 18-July 9.
Following the trip to Durban in South Africa, where Oman played five warm-up matches and won four, the national team head coach Duleep Mendis picked his final 15 for the Qualifier.
It may be recalled Oman had selected 17-member squad for Durban warm-up tour.
Oman played all five games against a competitive South African side, Hollywoodbets Dolphins, that included few South African international cricketers.
Oman had included three wicketkeepers in the squad and as expected, dropped one from the final 15. Adeel Shafique failed to make the cut. He was joined by uncapped young all-rounder Rafiullah on the side lines as the pair missed the Qualifier.
During the Durban trip, Oman had few matches interrupted by rain but got off to a winning start to the tour with a 36-run win over Dolphins. The hosts bounced back to register a convincing seven-wicket win in the next match, but Oman took the third game in their favour with an easy eight-wicket win and continued their winning streak as they posted an 82-run win in the fourth match and concluded the tour with a five-wicket win on DLS method.
During the five matches, Oman’s star batter Jatinder Singh scored three half-centuries while the other batters who were among runs were Kashyap Prajapati, vice-captain Aqib Ilyas, skipper Zeeshan Maqsood, Sandeep Goud, and Ayaan Khan. In the bowling department, pacers Bilal Khan and Kaleemullah along with Fayyaz Butt and Ilyas were among wickets.
Maqsood’s 81 was the top score during the five-match series while Bilal’s 4/23 was the best bowling figures, achieved in the concluding game while the main pace spearhead had also picked four wickets in the opening game.
Ahead of the Qualifier, skipper Maqsood sounded confident and said: “We are ready for the challenge and it’s a big opportunity for all of us to showcase our potential. We will give our best.”
The ten-nation Qualifier will decide the remaining two spots for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India 2023.
Oman grouped with Sri Lanka, Ireland
Oman have been clubbed with former World Cup winners Sri Lanka, Ireland, Scotland and neighbours UAE in Group B. Hosts Zimbabwe, West Indies, Netherlands, Nepal and United States make up Group A.
Oman will begin their campaign on June 19 in Bulawayo against Ireland followed by a game against UAE on June 21. On June 23, Oman will take on 1996 World Cup winners Sri Lanka before concluding the league stage with a match against Scotland on June 25.
Each side will play the other teams in their group once with the top three from the groups progressing to the Super Six stage.
The teams each play three Super Six matches against the sides they did not meet in the group stage. All points won in the groups will be carried over to the Super Six stage apart from those gained against the bottom two from each group. The finalists will both progress to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The Super Six stage will commence on June 29, while the bottom two teams from each group will compete in the playoff.
Oman squad: 1. Zeeshan Maqsood (captain), 2. Aqib Ilyas (vice-captain), 3. Jatinder Singh, 4. Kashyap Prajapati, 5. Shoaib Khan, 6. Mohammed Nadeem, 7. Sandeep Goud, 8. Ayaan Khan, 9. Suraj Kumar, 10. Naseem Khushi, 11. Bilal Khan, 12. Kaleemullah, 13. Fayyaz Butt, 14. Jay Odedra, 15. Samay Shrivastav.
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