Aqib Ilyas’ all-round performance helps Oman beat Nepal by eight wicketsIn the Cricket World Cup League 2 match, the Omani allrounder scored an unbeaten 109 and grabbed four Nepal wickets.
In a spectacular all-round performance, Oman’s Aqib Ilyas scored an unbeaten 109 after picking up four crucial wickets to help beat Nepal by eight wickets in their ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League 2 match played at the Tribhuvan University cricket ground in Kirtipur on Sunday. A third win in a row in the triangular series puts Oman at the top of the team standings.
Oman’s skipper Zeeshan Maqsood added 167 runs with Ilyas in their unbeaten third-wicket partnership, chasing a victory target of 250 runs, after the hosts were put to bat. The Oman captain himself remained unbeaten on 68 runs, helping them scamper home with 16 balls to spare.
Ilyas hit 12 fours and a six in his innings. He was dropped by Aarif Sheikh on 37 at point but he carried on from there, scoring his highest individual score off 108 balls. Maqsood hit eight boundaries and played a captain’s innings, much to the disappointment of the home crowd.
Jatinder Singh (23) and Khawar Ali (41) were the only two Oman wickets to fall. Sushan Bhari and Kushal Malla picked up a wicket each, for Nepal.
Earlier, Nepal had a good start to their innings but failed to sustain the momentum. Subash Khakurel (22) and skipper Gyanendra Malla added 48 runs in an opening partnership before Khakurel fell.
Former captain, Paras Khadka appeared to be heading for a big score, but despite a good start, he could not stay long at the crease. Mohammad Nadeem provided the visitors a crucial breakthrough as Khadka was caught by Sandeep Goud when he had scored 38 runs off 34 balls. When Khadka departed, Nepal’s score was 107-2 in 23.1 overs. Dipendra Singh Airee didn't trouble the scorers as he was out for a duck, two deliveries later.
Captain Malla, who scored his second one-day international half-century and the first as skipper, was the next batsman to fall. Having scored 56 from 76 deliveries, Malla fell to Ilyas’s bowling, caught by Nadeem in the 28th over.
The batsmen that followed, despite having starts, failed to score big. Kushal Malla (28), Aarif Sheikh (28) and Karan KC (10) all fell to Ilyas and Nepal found themselves struggling at 221-7 in 42.1 overs. Binod Bhandari (35) was the next Nepal wicket to fall, run out by a direct hit from Suraj Kumar. Lamichhane (10) and debutant Kamal Singh Airee (9) remained unbeaten as Nepal's innings ended at 249-8 off their stipulated 50 overs.
Ilyas was well supported by Nadeem in reducing Nepal for a modest total. The man-of-the-match in the two previous matches for Oman, Nadeem, picked up three wickets.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Nepal captain Gyanendra Malla said: "Our bowling lacked a bit of discipline, there was a gap in strategy and execution."
"249 seemed like a good score to defend, but we probably fell some runs short," said Malla while appreciating the batting display of Maqsood and Ilyas. "The way they batted, we failed to apply pressure."
Ilyas, who was adjudged the man of the match for his all-round performance, said: "It was a good game overall for both the teams. We started very well and I was provided good support by my captain."
The right-handed batsman also went on to appreciate the local crowds who cheered for his century.
"It was a beautiful gesture by the spectators. They supported their team throughout, but also extended their warm greetings to me when I reached my century.”
Oman next play against the United States of America on Tuesday in the triangular 50 overs a side tournament. That match will be followed by a game between Nepal and the USA on Wednesday.