Oman to meet UAE on opening day

Duleep Mendis' Team Oman will begin its campaign in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier against the hosts at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on October 18. The Qualifier will be held in the UAE from October 18-November 2.

The ICC announced the schedule on Tuesday with Scotland and the Netherlands, joint winners of the previous qualifier in 2015, also featuring on the opening day along with Singapore, Kenya, Hong Kong and Ireland.

Scotland, which is the top-ranked side in the 14-team tournament, will take on Singapore in the opener in Dubai while the Netherlands will take on Kenya later in the day at the same venue.

In another match on the first day, Test nation Ireland will take on Hong Kong. Bermuda, Canada, Jersey, Namibia, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea (PNG) are the other teams, which will be vying for the six available places at the T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia from October 18-November 15.

Oman is placed in Group B along with the hosts UAE, Ireland, Hong Kong, Canada, Jersey and Nigeria.

Mendis' men will play all its group games in Abu Dhabi.

Scotland, the Netherlands, PNG, Namibia, Singapore, Kenya and Bermuda form Group A.

The top team from each group will advance to the semifinal of the tournament while securing direct qualification to the T20 World Cup 2020, with three more teams from each group featuring in qualification playoffs to determine the other four qualifiers.

The playoffs are scheduled at the Dubai International Stadium for October 29-30. The semifinals will be held on November 1 while the third-place match and the final will be on November 2 in Dubai. The six qualifying teams will join the top-ten teams in Australia in 2020 – Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

Oman's schedule: October 18: Oman vs UAE, Oct 20: Hong Kong vs Oman, Oct 21: Ireland vs Oman, Oct 23: Oman vs Nigeria, Oct 25: Oman vs Canada,

Oct 27: Oman vs Jersey. Oct 29: Playoff 1: A2 vs B3, Playoff 2: A3 vs B2. Oct 30: Playoff 3: A4 vs loser of Playoff 1, Playoff 4: B4 vs loser of Playoff 2. Oct 31:

Fifth-sixth playoff: winner of Playoff 3 vs winner of Playoff 4. November 1: Semifinal 1: B1 vs winner of Playoff 1, Semifinal 2: A1 vs winner of Playoff 2; Nov 2: Third-place playoff: B1 vs winner of Playoff 1; Final.

Five-nation T20I series in Oman will provide ideal preparation: Mendis

Oman head coach Duleep Mendis believes that the five-nation T20 international series in Muscat from

October 5-10 will provide a good preparation for his boys ahead of the ICC T20 Qualifier in the UAE, which will be held from October 18.

Speaking to Muscat Daily on Tuesday, after the ICC announced the schedule of the qualifier, the Sri Lankan great said, “We have organised the five-nation series keeping in mind the Qualifier. It would be ideal preparation for our boys. I believe that it is the best way to prepare for the Qualifier as we will be up against some tough teams.”

The five-nation T20I series will feature Oman, Ireland, Nepal, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. Except for Nepal, the other teams are vying for a spot in the T20 World Cup.

Mendis said, “The boys have to switch from the 50-over

format mode that they have been playing recently. The boys did well in that format and now it's time for them perform well in the shortest format. I have the confidence as our boys have done very well in the past in T20s. The focus will be to prepare them psychologically for T20s as over the past few tournaments, they have been playing only 50-over format. We will be ready for the Qualifier after the pentangular series.”

Mendis said that the domestic league will begin with the T20 games for the Premier Division teams this week giving good opportunity for the players to showcase their potential.

“We will have to announce the team soon after having a good look at the in-form players as ICC requires us to submit the list a month before the start of the Qualifier [October 18],” he said.

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