ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier: Nepal and Oman secure semi-final spots


Bowlers dominated the afternoon session of day 3 in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier A at Al Amerat on Monday aiding Nepal and hosts Oman to advance to the semi-final of the tournament from Group A.

Nepal defeated Canada by eight wickets while Oman raced to a nine-wicket win over the Philippines.

Having bowled out Canada for 80 in 15 overs, Nepal were never in trouble, chasing down the target in 14.1 overs for the loss of Aasif Sheikh and Kushal Malla’s wickets.

Kushal Bhurtel, who became only the third Nepalese batter to score a T20I century on Saturday against the Philippines, stayed unbeaten on 34. Along with Dipendra Singh Airee (27), the side cantered to victory.

Nepal emerged as the Group A topper with a clean slate after recording three successive wins for six points. Oman with two victories finished a runner-up with four. Nepal will take on the Group B runner-up UAE while the hosts will face Group B topper Ireland in the semi-finals, which will be played on Tuesday. Both the matches begin at 14.00 hrs (local time).

At Oman Academy 2 ground, Oman missed a chance to script history. They recorded one of the largest margins of victory in a T20 International by bowling out Philippines for 36 in 15.2 overs, their lowest-ever T20 International total, the hosts chased the target in just 2.5 overs, scoring 40-1.

The huge win for Oman, with 103 balls remaining was just a ball more than the world record margin achieved by Austria. On 31 August 2019, Austria had defeated Turkey in a T20I match with 104 balls remaining in Ilfov County, Romania. Electing to bat first, Philippines was rocked by the pace attack of – Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah and Fayyaz Butt. Khan gave away just seven runs in his three-over spell on a trot to build the pressure. Kaleemullah and Fayyaz Butt complimented each other as they sent back the top-order by the eighth over.

Khawar Ali and Aamir Kaleem then spun a magical web as wickets fell at regular intervals. Philippines, who are making their debut in the global qualifiers, were bowled out for 36 in 15.2 overs. Ali bagged four for 11 in 3.2 overs while Kaleem had figures of 2-1-2-2. Butt and Kaleemullah also bagged a brace each. Oman lost Kashyap Prajapati off the second ball of their innings but with a small total, it turned out to be a stroll in the park for the hosts.

Khurram Khan smashed a quick fire 12-ball 33, which included 5 fours and 2 sixes, and along with Jatinder Singh, wrapped up an easy win.

Daniel Smith, Philippines Captain said: “It is really tough to take – getting bowled out in the 30s. For us now, I think it is just about reflecting. We are getting to play the game we love against some of the best players and teams out there. So, we are going to take some time off tonight, reflect on how far we have come.

“We still have two playoff games to look forward to. We are going to turn up and play with some heart in those.”

Smith had led the side in place of regular captain Jonathan Hull, who missed the game.

Zeeshan Maqsood, Oman Captain said: “I’m really happy with the performance today. We will try and put in similar levels of performance in the semi-finals. Despite the victory, we did make some mistakes today. So, we will be looking to correct those in the semi-finals [vs Ireland]. We have to play good and smart cricket tomorrow. We have to use our home conditions in the best possible way.”

Nepal on top

T20 World Cup

Nepal skipper Sandeep Lamichhane led from the front with a three-wicket haul (3-12) to bowl out Canada for 80. Kamal Airee and Abinash Bohara picked two wickets apiece. The Canadian innings were rocked by two run out dismissals with in-form opener Rayyan Pathan triggering a collapse.

Three balls after Pathan’s exit, Ravinderpal Singh followed him in the pavilion with the team’s total at 39-4. The Canadian batters were stifled against some accurate bowling and could never recover from the double-wicket loss in the sixth over. A procession continued as the next five batters were dismissed for the addition of just nine runs, which included another run-out dismissal [Saad Zafar]. At 48-9, Canada were in a precarious situation with nearly ten overs remaining.

Dilon Heyliger and No 10 Salman Nazar adopted a counter-attack strategy to push the score to take it to 80 with a crucial 32-run stand. Heyliger smashed 2 sixes and a four in his unbeaten 22-ball 24 while Nazar made 10.

Navneet Dhaliwal, Canada Captain said: “It was one of those days where nothing worked for us. The run-outs never let us build any momentum and changed the complexion of the match.”

Sandeep Lamichhane, Nepal Captain said: “The best of Nepal is yet to come. Absolutely thrilled with the win and the way everyone showed character. Canada was playing really well in those first few overs of the Powerplay. Credit goes to all the fast bowlers who bowled in all the right areas.

“It is really nice to see that all the bowlers are in good shape. As a captain, it becomes easy once they are getting wickets.”

Ahead of the semi-finals, the captain, who was also named the Player of the Match, said: “We have been working really hard for this moment [reach the semi-finals]. This journey so far has been great and we are all looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”