Oman seize last qualifying spot by defeating Namibia
Oman stunned Namibia at Malahide today, winning by five wickets and securing the last qualification spot for next year's Twenty20 World Cup.
Chasing 149 for victory, Zeeshan Ahmad's unbeaten 51 from 32 deliveries was the star turn. In anchoring the innings from number five, Ahmad struck 6 fours and 2 sixes.
He shared in a crucial 62-run fourth-wicket partnership with Jatinder Singh, rescuing the Omanis from the precarious position of 67-3 in the tenth over.
When Singh was run out following some excellent work by Namibian skipper Nicolaas Scholtz and keeper JJ Kotze, and when Mehran Khan was bowled for 0, swiping at Gerrie Snyman, the Namibians may have seen an opening, but some clever batting from Ami Ali and powerful striking from Ahmad saw the Omanis home with an over to spare.
Crucially, the Namibian left-arm spinner Bernard Scholtz - by some distance his team's best bowler - could not find a length and so the Omanis took him for 29 in his four overs.
With seamer Jason Davidson suspended from bowling in international cricket due to suspicions about his action, the Namibians looked short of fire-power and variation in their attack. Only Craig Williams, who delivered four overs of medium-pace for just 23 runs, provided a reliable option for his captain.
The Omanis, however, should have been chasing much more than 149. Stephen Baard had blasted 62 from 52 balls (4 fours and 3 sixes), Raymond van Schoor had compiled a fluent 34 from 23 balls (4 fours and a six), and Namibia had reached 126-3 in the seventeenth over.
Yet from here they lost six wickets for just 22 runs as Aamir Kaleem (2 for 12) and Munis Ansari (3 for 22) bowled excellently at the death.
There were also two wickets for slow-left-armer Ajay Lalcheta, while leg-spinner Khawar Ali was unfortunate not to record better figures than 4-0-25-1, with several chances going down off his bowling.
So it is Oman who triumph and who qualify for next year's Twenty20 World Cup; Namibia, however, have fallen short yet again.