Photo Credit: Oman Cricket
Oman’s Bilal Khan named best bowler of the tournament; Skipper Zeeshan Maqsood’s all-round performance ‘deserved’ player of series award
Individual brilliance stood out for Oman despite the national team narrowly missing out a place in the final of the recently-concluded inaugural ACC Men’s Premier Cup in Kathmandu, Nepal.
A third-place finish for Duleep Mendis coached team did secure the Men in Red a spot in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, along with Premier Cup champions Nepal and runner-up UAE.
The three Associate nations will vie with the A teams from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh in the fifth edition of the event in July.
The qualification for the Emerging Asia Cup is a small consolation for Oman as the team had the potential to go all the way in the Premier Cup, according to Mendis, the team’s chief coach.
The former Sri Lankan Test captain said that “his boys returned with a lot of positives from the Nepal tour.”
Oman lost to UAE by just two runs in a rain-interrupted semi-final that was decided on DLS method. The loss of two wickets in one over just before rains stopped play gave UAE a narrow win.
Reflecting on the loss that saw Oman miss out a chance to battle with hosts Nepal in the final and a chance to make it to the Asia Cup, Mendis said: “A single-over madness cost us dear. We were ahead of UAE till that over.”
Mendis added: “The boys learnt an important lesson. One can’t lose focus while on the crease. Despite the defeat in the semi-final, we came back with a lot of positives. The individual performances of some of the players were top-notch and the best in the tournament. Overall, our players demonstrated good application and noteworthy performances in all departments of the game during the tournament.”
Bilal named best bowler
Oman’s fiery left-arm pacer Bilal Khan was declared the best bowler of the tournament and the coveted award will give a world of confidence to the experienced speedster ahead of the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe next month.
Another bowler who impressed was right-arm off-spinner Jay Odedra, who collected ten wickets including a five-wicket haul of 5/14 against Kuwait. With an miserly economy of 3.55, the best by an Omani bowler in the series, Mendis said that he was the “find of the tournament for us.”
The opening pair of Jatinder Singh and Kashyap Prajapati had an excellent run with Jatinder garnering 288 runs in six games including an unbeaten century against Malaysia.
An average of 72, Jatinder finished as the second-best run-getter in the tournament. UAE’s Vriitya Aravind was the top scorer with 454 runs.
Prajapati scored a total of 222 runs in six matches at an average of 44.4 with the highest score of 66. He was the sixth highest run-scorer of the tournament.
Oman skipper Zeeshan Maqsood led from the front and his all-round display should have “earned him the player of the tournament award” according to Mendis.
His reasons were based on Maqsood’s stellar statistics as the captain collected 187 runs at an average of 46.75 coupled with 13 wickets at an average of 16.46.
However, the player of the tournament award was conferred on Nepal’s spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who picked up 13 wickets in the tournament and scored 55 runs in six matches.