Oman 169-2 (Khawar Ali 79*, A Neill 1 for 24) beat Scotland 168 (KJ Coetzer 56, Khawar Ali 4 for 23) by 8 wickets
The first round of Cricket World Cup League Two has produced its first shock as favourites Scotland fell to an eight-wicket defeat to Oman at Mannofield. After dismissing the Scots for 168 inside 45 overs, well-measured half-centuries from Khawar Ali and Aqib Ilyas saw Zeeshan Maqsood’s team claim its second win of the competition with more than four overs to spare.
Scotland’s day had begun as brightly as the Aberdeen sunshine which bathed this famous old ground. Openers Kyle Coetzer and Matthew Cross looked in good touch as they built a characteristically solid platform, Coetzer following a flick then a drive to the boundary off Kaleemullah with a six and a four off Mohammad Nadeem. Cross, too, was finding his range, pulling Nadeem to the rope at the start of the tenth before clearing the square leg boundary off the next ball to take the score to 53.
With the situation looking ominous, it was the introduction of slow left-armers Zeeshan Maqsood and Aamir Kaleem which began to change the game. Bowling in tandem, the pair brought a double breakthrough as Kaleem claimed the wicket of Cross (33) before Maqsood bowled new batsman Calum MacLeod (3) in the following over. From 71 without loss, Scotland suddenly found itself 76 for 2.
Kaleem and Maqsood (2 for 32) were similarly miserly as the run-rate slipped still further. Coetzer brought up his fifty in the 21st over, but with boundaries drying up, both he and Richie Berrington struggled to break the shackles. Leg-spinner Khawar Ali tightened them still further, and with the score on 102, the leg-spinner claimed his first wicket as Coetzer (56) fell to a catch in the deep by Khurram Nawaz. Berrington (11) followed two overs later, and when George Munsey (6) was bowled off the first delivery of Aqib Ilyas’s spell, Scotland had been reduced to 110 for 5.
Tom Sole (1) followed as the collapse continued, and although Craig Wallace counter-attacked with a battling 36, Oman patiently picked off Scotland’s remaining wickets. Ali Evans (4) became Khawar’s fourth victim before Wallace fell to Kaleem (2 for 30) to end the innings in the 44th over. After the promise of its beginning, Scotland’s final total looked well below par.
So it proved as Oman’s chase began. With a required run-rate of less than four Khawar Ali and Jatinder Singh could afford to take their time, and although Mark Watt (1 for 25) struck in his first over to remove Jatinder for 19, new batsman Aqib Ilyas showed similar patience as the target was gradually whittled away. The foundations of the innings secure, a four and six from Khawar brought an increase in its tempo, and with the team hundred raised in the 30th and the hundred partnership in the 39th, Oman relentlessly drove home its advantage. Both batsmen had passed fifty by the time the target was in single figures, and although Adrian Neill had the consolation of a wicket on his ODI debut after holding on to a sharp return catch from Aqib (61) under his chin, the outcome of the match had long been settled.
It had been a thoroughly professional performance from Oman, dominated by Player of the Match Khawar Ali, who added an unbeaten 79 to his bowling figures of 4 for 23. With two wins from two, his team sits at the top of the table. For Scotland, tomorrow’s match against Papua New Guinea has taken on an added significance.