Cricket: Namibia routs Oman by 145 runs for title

Oman players and officials after they achieved ODI status and finished runner-up in ICC WCL Division Two

Oman’s sweetness of joy after attaining ODI status was soured on Saturday as it suffered a massive 145-run loss to hosts Namibia in the final of the ICC World Cricket League Division Two in Windhoek.

It was the first-ever ODI match for Duleep Mendis’ boys and the heavy defeat brought it face to face with the reality of playing at the top-level.

Namibia, which had lost by four wickets to Oman during their league match, exacted sweet revenge on Saturday as it bowled out Oman for meagre 81 in 29 overs, chasing a target of 226 for seven.

South-African born left-arm fast-medium Jan Frylinck ripped through the Oman batting as he picked up five for 13 while JJ Smit, another left-arm pacer, claimed three for 21. Christi Viljoen’s double-strike in the 16th over sent Mohammad Nadeem and Sandeep Goud back .

Except for Suraj Kumar’s 27 off 61 balls and Khurram Nawaz’s unbeaten 17 off 34, none of the Oman batsmen displayed any fight as Team Red’s bitter-sweet campaign came to a conclusion.

Earlier, Namibia opener Karl Birkenstock’s half-century (61) led the team to a solid start. Valuable knocks from Smit (29) and Zane Green (38) followed by quickfire unbeaten knocks from Christi Viljoen (17) and Frylinck (16) saw it reach a challenging total of 226.

Oman’s medium-pacer Bilal Khan, who had a successful tournament with nine wickets ahead of the final, failed to pick a wicket while Ahmed Fayyaz Butt and Aqib Ilyas took two wickets each. Captain Zeeshan Maqsood and Khawar Ali took a wicket apiece.

Oman’s chase started on a disastrous note as it was reeling at 25 for three in six overs and by 16th over, it had slid to 45 for six.

Kumar and Nawaz began the recovery but with Kumar’s exit, in 26th over, it took little time for Oman to be skittled out.

It was second successive loss for Oman after Papua New Guinea (PNG) inflicted an identical 145-run defeat in the concluding league match on Friday.

Oman batting collapsed to be out for 76 in 28.2 overs, chasing PNG’s 221 for eight. PNG’s good run continued as it trounced US by five wickets to clinch the third place on Saturday while Canada took the fifth place with a five-wicket win over Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Pankaj Khimji, Oman Cricket (OC) board member, said, “We cannot express how proud we are of our boys. Their performances and their achievements have made Oman stand out among the top 20 ODI countries in the world today.”

“Our team fully deserves the ODI status in Namibia. They are international stars and the boys completely deserve it,” he added.

Ahead of the final, Kanak Khimji, OC chief, presented new numbered caps to all 14 players.

Brief scores [final]: Namibia 226-8 (Birkenstock 61, Green 38; Butt 2-28, Ilyas 2-32) beat Oman 81 all out in 29 overs (Kumar 27, Nawaz 17 n.o.; Frylinck 5-13, Smit 3-21, Viljoen 2-6).

Claire makes history in final

Australia’s Claire Polosak made history on Saturday as she became the first woman umpire to stand in a men’s ODI when she officiated in the final of the World Cricket League Division 2 between Namibia and Oman.

Primary objective achieved: Mendis

Despite back-to-back defeats, Oman coach Duleep Mendis defended his players and said that ‘the primary objective’ of the team was achieved by gaining the ‘ODI status’ at the just-concluded ICC WCL Division Two in Windhoek, Namibia, on Saturday.

Oman made history by earning ODI status on Wednesday but its joy was dampened by the big defeats including the loss in the final to Namibia on Saturday.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Mendis said, “The primary objective of the tournament was to get the ODI status and we achieved it.

“But the last two games, we performed badly. No excuses, we should have played much better as we are capable of playing much better.”

The Sri Lankan great added, “The boys were tired after back-to-back matches but it is not an excuse. In the first four games, my boys played brilliantly and credit to them. What we set for was to gain ODI status and we got it. So let’s celebrate it.”

The chief coach said that his boys were better in the game against Papua New Guinea but failed to capitalise the chances that came our way.

“Frankly, we should have played better in the last two games,” he reiterated.

Mendis had earlier said on Wednesday that the ODI status was ‘the pinnacle for Oman cricket’.

Oman became the first among the six nations at the WCL Division Two to achieve ODI status. US, Namibia and PNG were the other teams that attained the ODI status.

The four teams now join the newly-formed ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League Two. They join Nepal, Scotland and UAE in League Two, where the seven teams will play 36 ODIs each over a two-and-a-half year period on the road to Cricket World Cup 2023.

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