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24 July 201512:50

PREVIEW: Upbeat Oman prepares for Afghanistan backlash

The contest should be an enthralling one, with the result in the earlier game between the two sides giving it an added edge.

PREVIEW: Upbeat Oman prepares for Afghanistan backlash - Cricket News
It’s Afghanistan v Oman again at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, this time in the fifth-place playoff at Clontarf Cricket Club Ground in Dublin on Saturday (July 25).

In the previous encounter between the two sides, Oman ended Afghanistan's unbeaten streak with a now-famous 40-run win in Edinburgh. Mehran Khan was the star with his 17-ball 28 and 4 for 23 on that occasion, and while Oman will hope for more of the same from him and the others, it will also know that the big boys from Afghanistan would be desperate to avenge that loss and secure 5th place.

Both teams have secured their places at the ICC World T20 2016 by finishing in the top six, but a win here will definitely boost their confidence ahead of the main event, to be played in India in March-April next year.

Oman, after finishing fourth in Group B, beat Namibia by five wickets in the fourth qualifier in Malahide on Thursday to seal its passage to India, while Afghanistan had to go past a spirited Papua New Guinea earlier in the day at the same venue to earn its spot.

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Afghanistan's batting has been its main strength, with Mohammad Shehzad, the opener, leading the way with 199 runs from six matches so far, scored at a strike rate of 177.67 – the best in the tournament.

Nawroz Mangal, Asghar Stanikzai and Samiullah Shenwari have all contributed with valuable knocks, playing around the big-hitting Shahzad, to provide solidity to Afghanistan's batting.

In the bowling department, Mohammad Nabi has been the most successful, with ten wickets from six matches at 16.90 apiece. Hamid Hasan and Mirwais Ashraf have also chipped in with occasional scalps, but Afghanistan will hope for Dawlat Zadran and Shapoor Zadran, its stars at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, to fire too as it heads into what will be its final appearance in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Jatinder Singh, Zeeshan Maqsood, Zeeshan Siddiqui and Aamir Kaleem have all shown that Oman, which has posted and chased down good totals, is no pushover despite being a side that is taking part in the competition for only the second time.

Among the bowlers, Maqsood, Munis Ansari and Rajeshkumar Ranpura have bagged 27 wickets between them, while Mehran has been Oman's go-to man during the middle overs.

The contest should be an enthralling one, with the result in the earlier game between the two sides giving it an added edge.

The four sides competing for the trophy are Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands and Hong Kong.

Afghanistan: Asghar Stanikzai (capt), Javed Ahmadi, Aftab Alam, Mirwais Ashraf, Sharafudin Ashraf, Hamid Hassan, Nawroz Mangal, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Samiullah Shinwari, Dawlat Zadran, Najib Zadran, Shahpur Zadran.

Oman: Sultan Ahmed (capt), Yousuf Abdulrahim, Zeeshan Ahmad, Amir Ali, Khawar Ali, Munis Ansari, Aamir Kaleem, Mehran Khan, Ajay Lalcheta, Sufyan Mahmood, Zeeshan Maqsood, Muhammad Nadeem, Rajeshkumar Ranpura, Jatinder Singh, Vaibhav Wategaonkar.