The three-team tournament, contested between Scotland, Oman and Papua New Guinea, got off to a thrilling start as Oman (234/6) beat PNG (229/8) by four wickets with five balls remaining.
After winning the toss and electing to field first, Oman may have rued their choice to insert PNG as Tony Ura (54) and Gaudi Toka (29) put on a 77-run stand for the first wicket before Zeeshan Maqsood (3/35) bowled Toka inside the 16th over to break the partnership.
Oman’s bowling attack did well to pull back PNG after the early onset of runs, Khawar Ali (2/41) trapping Ura LBW in the 21st over with 103/2 on the board to induce a middle-order struggle for PNG, despite three batsmen making starts. Assad Vala (24) also fell to Khawar in the 29th, before Charles Amini was run out for 7 in the 32nd by Sandeep Goud to leave PNG faltering slightly at 150/4.
Sese Bau (14) and skipper Lega Siaka (41) provided some resistance with a 33-run stand before the former was caught by Jatinder Singh off the bowling of Jay Odedra (1/48). Siaka, caught and bowled by Zeeshan, fell two balls later, bringing two new batsman to the crease in Kiplin Doriga (1) and Chad Soper (29*).
The partnership would only last seven runs before Doriga too fell to Zeeshan with nine overs left, bringing Norman Vanua and Soper together for another seven-run stand at the latter stages of the game. Damien Ravu (6* from 15) provided support with Soper still at the crease at the back end of the innings, helping PNG climb to 229/8 from their 50 overs.
Chasing 230 for victory, PNG were the happier side of the two as Oman’s innings got under way, taking regular wickets and removing Oman’s top four inside 24 overs with less than 100 runs on the board. Khawar (9) fell to Nosaina Pokana (1/32) in the seventh over, before Jatinder (20) saw his stumps shattered by Amini (2/49) in the 15th over.
Aqib Ilyas (41) provided a 34-run stand with Zeeshan (21) for the third wicket as Oman tried to anchor their innings, but Soper (1/41) had other ideas as he had Ilyas caught by Siaka in the 23rd over to reduce Oman to 89/3. Vala (1/22) struck in the next over to remove skipper Zeeshan, with still Oman needing a further 132 runs from 26.4 overs.
Mohammad Nadeem (6) headed back to the shed in the 28th over thanks to a caught and bowled from Amini to put PNG in the driving seat. However, Oman’s lower-order batsmen had other ideas as Suraj Kumar (24) put on a 36-run stand for the sixth wicket with Sandeep Goud (67*) before an unfortunate run-out led to the former’s dismissal.
Fayyaz Butt (32*) joined Goud at the crease needing 86 runs with two wickets and 13.6 overs remaining with the hope of completing victory unlikely. With 23 runs needed from the last three overs, the pair took 11 off the 48th and 10 runs from the 49th to leave Oman needing two runs from the last six balls.
A six off the first ball of the last over from Goud saw Oman to victory with two wickets and five balls remaining. Oman will face Scotland on 15 August at Mannofield, Aberdeen, in the second clash of the series.