Oman Cricket: Mission Accomplished!
Newly-crowned Oman Cricket A Division champs ARTT hope to make an impact in Premier Division next season
It was a mission accomplished. Having begun their campaign in the 2020-21 Oman Cricket A Division with an aim to reach a step higher – a spot in the top-flight Premier Division – Arabian Region Travel and Tourism (ARTT) not only achieved their goal in style but have already begun chalking out their plans for the new challenge following their title success in the Oman Cricket A Division (50-over-a-side) recently.
The A Division title rewards ARTT with a place in next season's Premier Division where they would make their debut and compete against the sultanate's best bunch of cricketers.
A delighted team owner, Ali Anwar, told Muscat Daily, “My team began the season with a single mission - to be the A Division champions. I am very happy that my players accomplished what they set for and this success is a result of their hard work and team spirit.”
For team skipper Ahmed Khan, 'the never-say-die attitude reflected the true character of my players'.
He said, “Zawawi Powertech was the standout team in our division and the way we fought and won against them in the concluding league game just after suffering two successive defeats made me really proud of my players.”
The A Division title was a three-way battle between ARTT, Zawawi Powertech and SARCO. ARTT went into the game against Zawawi Powertech knowing that the match winner will seal the title.
Team's vice-captain Pranav Mehta said, 'it was like a final'. “Either us or Zawawi [Powertech] would be the champions. We have a group of experienced and young players and we produced our best when it mattered the most. In the final, VS Shiju was exceptional and his five-wicket haul was the game-changer.”
Put to bat, Zawawi Powertech fell to a mesmerising spell of left-arm spinner Shiju as they were dismissed for paltry 66. It was a sensational debut for Shiju, a former player of the Premier Division champion Assarain, after his recent return to Oman.
A small target can be tricky at times but ARTT's Shehbaz Nasar's 32 off 27 deliveries ensured that there was no such hiccups as the team romped home to a nine-wicket win in 12 overs to end their campaign in a spectacular fashion.
All the three teams – ARTT, SARCO and Zawawi Powertech - finished with ten points in the eight-team league. ARTT emerged winners on better net run-rate (NRR) with a score of +2.31 NRR. Runner-up SARCO had NRR of + 1.04 while Zawawi Powertech was third with + 0.78.
Speaking about the team's plans ahead, Mehta said, “We are thrilled to have achieved our goal - a spot in the Premier Division. We will now prepare ourselves in the coming months for the top-flight league. We plan to hire few players from India and Pakistan as we are keen
to give a good fight to the experienced teams. Our aim now is to make an impact in the Premier Division next season.”
Mehta said Shiju along with experienced players like Zeeshan Siddiqui, Syed Amir Ali and Aqil Khan will form the team’s backbone in the coming season.
Zawawi Powertech 66 in 25.5 overs (Manikandan Govind 14; Shiju 5-17, Ibn Eameen 2-8, Aqil Khan 2-12) lost to ARTT 67-1 in 11.5 overs (Nasar 32 n.o.).
Final standings [A Division]:
1 ARTT, 2 SARCO, 3 Zawawi Powertech, 4 Awtad International, 5 ACT, 6 EY, 7 Basta CT, 8 OCT Muscat.