You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Oman plot another upset, but rain might have final say

Wisden India logo Wisden India 12-03-2016

It rained on Friday, it rained on Saturday, and it is expected to rain on Sunday.

The weather in Dharamsala has been unpredictable, but the qualification scenario in Group A of the World Twenty20 is straightforward: The winners of the Bangladesh v Oman game on Sunday (March 13) would go through to the Super 10s. And, in case of a no-result, Bangladesh qualify as they have a slightly higher net run-rate than Oman.

If that were to happen, it wouldn’t be too unfair, as Bangladesh have been the clear favourites in the group. They have had a good run in limited-overs cricket of late and, bar a massive upset, had to be backed to take another forward step by getting into the main round.

© Wisden Photo

Bangladesh didn’t have much turnaround time from the Asia Cup final, which they lost to India, but have acclimatised well to the cold conditions in Dharamsala.

Their batsmen were slightly off-colour in their opening game against the Netherlands but would take confidence from the fact that they still managed to come out on top. The biggest positive for Bangladesh in the two games has been Tamim Iqbal’s form. The left-hand opener showed he can bat according to the situation – he made a well-paced 83 against Netherlands and followed it up with a whirlwind 40 in the rain-hit game against Ireland.

The other senior batsmen in the line-up will, however, have to step up. Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim in particular have been under the scanner and Bangladesh need them to do what they are capable of.

The bowling line-up is versatile. Bangladesh now have bowlers for all conditions but they were hit hard by the news of Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny being reported for suspect bowling actions. It isn’t the most ideal position to be in ahead of a crucial game but Bangladesh’s team management have thrown their weight behind the two, indicating there would be no change in the team’s plans.

The other factor Bangladesh have to contend with is Oman’s newness in the stage. Heath Streak, their bowling coach, conceded that it would be a challenge, promising not to take Oman lightly. “We don’t take any team lightly. Oman have caused few big upsets and beating Ireland is not a small thing at all,” he said on Saturday. “We have analysed them as much as we would Pakistan or India. Obviously we have a lot less information on them but we have studied their batsmen and bowlers as professionally as we can. It’s a big game for us and we won’t be taking them lightly.”

On the other hand, however difficult it might seem, it’s yet another chance for Oman to add to their impressive recent record.

This would be their first match against a full-member nation and one inspired performance could take them to a stage they have never been anywhere close to before. And they are clearly the more excited of the two sides. While Bangladesh preferred to rest on Saturday, Oman were busy practicing in the indoor facility even as the rain came down.

As Aamir Kaleem, their vice-captain said, “it’s a win-win situation” for the team. “If we win we go through to the next round, but unfortunately if we can’t do that we have still achieved a lot in this tournament,” he said.

Oman are here after a heroic show against Ireland in their first match. The best thing about the victory was that it wasn’t a case of just one player having a field day, as is often the case with unfancied teams in T20s. The result was a consequence of a complete team effort; Munees Ansari, Kaleem and Khawar Ali starred with the ball before Zeeshan Maqsood, Khawar and Amir Ali produced magic with their bats.

One more such day, and who knows? It would be harsh if rain denies them that opportunity.

Teams (from)

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Arafat Sunny, Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rehman, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan, Al-Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed, Mohammed Mithun, Mustafizur Rahman.

Oman: Sultan Ahmed (capt, wk), Aamir Kaleem (vice-capt), Amir Ali, Munis Ansari, Jatinder Singh, Ajay Lalcheta, Mehran Khan, Rajeshkumar Ranpura, Sufyan Mehmood, Khawar Ali, Vaibhav Wategaonkar, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Zeeshan Maqsood, Bilal Khan, Adnan Ilyas.

More from Wisden India

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon