Skipper Zeeshan Maqsood’s four wicket haul and unbeaten half centuries by their openers have helped co-hosts Oman cruise to a 10 wicket win over Papua New Guinea in the Twenty20 World Cup opener in Al Amerat.
Left-arm spinner Maqsood was named man of the match after claiming 4-20 – Oman’s best T20 bowling figures – to help restrict PNG to 9-129.
Oman then eased to 0-131 with more than six overs to spare in the opening first round Group B clash on Sunday thanks to openers Jatinder Singh (73 not out off 42 balls) and Aqib Ilyas (50 not out off 43).
It was Oman’s best partnership for any wicket in a T20 and the chase, without losing a wicket, was the third-highest in men’s T20 internationals.
“These are our home conditions, we knew even 140 could be chased easily,” Maqsood said.
“We knew the wicket was playing very well. We needed to make sure we didn’t give away loose balls and easy boundaries.”
PNG won the toss but were soon reeling with the bat, losing openers Tony Ura and Lega Siaka without a run on the board after just nine deliveries.
A valiant 56 from captain Assad Vala helped save the innings, sharing an 81-run third wicket stand with Charles Amini (37 off 26 balls).
But Maqsood helped spark a collapse after Amini was run out, taking three wickets in one over as PNG at one stage lost 6-16.
Sese Bau (13) was the only other PNG batsman to reach double figures.
Oman – who pulled off a memorable win over Ireland in their only previous T20 World Cup campaign in 2016 – were largely untroubled during the run chase.
Jatinder played several impressive reverse sweeps to hit seven fours and four sixes while Ilyas eventually also reached his half century, stroking five fours and a six.
Jatinder brought up the winning runs with a six over mid-wicket in the 14th over.
“On that wicket, 129 was never going to be enough,” Vala said.
“We were looking at 160-plus to give ourselves a chance.
“We lost our way. I think a lot of credit goes to Maqsood and his boys.”
Bangladesh and Scotland are the other Group B teams.
Group A comprises Ireland, Namibia, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the Super 12 stage that starts in the United Arab Emirates next Saturday.