Oman’s dominance over Kenya from February at Division Two in Namibia continued on Friday, as the WCL Division Three hosts scored a commanding five-wicket win at the Oman Cricket Academy in Al Amerat.
Oman had swept Kenya in a pair of matches this past February and the visitors were no match for the home side on this occasion either, slipping to 8 for 3 in the Powerplay before eventually succumbing for 164.
Bilal Khan, who took a five-for the last time these two teams played, struck on the fifth ball of the match by beating Alex Obanda for pace and knocking back his stumps for a duck. Kenya also struggled with Kaleemullah’s height and bounce as a series of maidens built pressure, resulting in another wicket for Bilal. Jatinder Singh took his second catch in the slips in the following over as Kaleemullah followed up Bilal’s early strikes to get Dhiren Gondaria for the first of his four wickets.
Kenya grinded their way through much of the rest of the innings, valiantly lasting until the 50th over.
Oman’s chase got off to a typically fiery start behind Aqib Ilyas, who stroked five boundaries in his 22 off 20 balls before falling leg before to Nelson Odhiambo. Fellow opener Jatinder grinded out 33 off 49 balls before he was dismissed by Bhudia’s spin, opening the door for captain Zeeshan Maqsood to steer the rest of the chase.
Despite needing just 31 more to win over the final 18 overs and six wickets in hand, Oman took a peculiarly cautious approach in a format where the net run-rate tiebreaker can be crucial by the final day. They took until the 43rd over when Maqsood, who in the past has had a reputation for rapid scoring as an opening batsman, finally brought up his half-century off 93 balls, ending the match with his fifth boundary.