Bilal takes three wickets before Siddiqui and Ahmed partner to complete chase of 107 in opener against Hong Kong
The three-match Twenty20 International series in the United Arab Emirates presents a good opportunity for Hong Kong and Oman to polish off the rough edges ahead of the ICC World T20 2016 in India. In the first match on Saturday (November 21) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the bowlers called the shots as Oman completed a six-wicket win.
Chasing 107, Oman wobbled early on but crossed the line in 18.3 overs thanks to an unbeaten 60-run stand for the fifth wicket between Zeeshan Siddiqui (33 not out) and Sultan Ahmed (37 not out).
Hong Kong did well to build the pressure in the first half of the second innings. Its bowlers reduced Oman to 43 for 4 by the end of the tenth over with Tanwir Afzal (2 for 22) dismissing Khawar Ali (4) and Adnan Ilyas (1) in the first two overs he bowled.
At 64 to get in ten overs, a wicket might have swung the match in Hong Kong’s favour, but Siddiqui and Ahmed stayed calm and brought the equation down to 28 off the last five overs. They then struck nine runs off the 16th over, bowled by Afzal, to steer the chase and ease the nerves in the dressing room.
Earlier in the day, Hong Kong was restricted to a modest 106 for 9 with Bilal Khan, the left-arm pacer, picking up 3 for 29.
Bilal justified his captain Sultan Ahmed's decision to put Hong Kong in when he struck in the very first over to trap Anshuman Rath (5). He then came back in the third over to remove Babar Hayat, just when he was looking dangerous with a seven-ball 16. Hayat had struck two crisp boundaries off consecutive deliveries, but was bowled trying to go for another big one.
Quick wickets then left Hong Kong at 56 for 6. Waqas Khan (19) and Christopher Carter (15) collaborated to add 36 runs for the seventh wicket to take the score close to 100. Once Waqas was run out by a direct hit from Khawar Ali, the Oman bowlers ensured there was no late flourish from the lower order.
The two teams will meet at the same venue on Wednesday for the second game.