Oman flagOman
Current ranking8 (CricketEurope)
Qualification 2nd in WCL Division 2, Namibia 2007
Group phase schedule 1 April: Canada, LC de Villiers Oval, Pretoria
2 April: Ireland, Stan Friedman Oval
4 April: Scotland, WITS University
6 April: Namibia, Stan Friedman Oval
8 April: Uganda, LC de Villiers Oval, Pretoria
Key playersHemal Mehta, Adnan Ilyas, Farhan Khan
Wise Old HeadHemal Mehta
Emerging playerRoger Mukasa
CoachRafiq Al Balushi
PreparationSri Lanka

One of the two Affiliate nations in the competition, Oman will start as outsiders in Group A despite their improvement over the past four years, and it will be a considerable surprise if they beat one of the more established sides to make the Super Eight phase.

The squad is overwhelmingly of Subcontinental origin, and includes several players with first-class experience in their native countries. They dominated the recent ACC Trophy Challenge tournament, but given the weakness of the opposition there their performance in Division 2 of the World Cricket League in Namibia fifteen months ago, where they were undefeated until losing to the UAE in the final, is probably a fairer guide to their quality.

Oman team (photo courtesy of ICC)Eleven of that squad will be in South Africa, although Hemin Desai, one of the stars in Namibia, has left Oman and is no longer in the side.

But opening batsman Adnan Ilyas, who hit a century in Oman's surprise victory over the UAE during the round robin matches in Windhoek, still leads the batting, and with Maqsood Hussain forms a solid opening partnership.

With players like Vaibhav Wayegaonkar, Awal Khan and wicketkeeper Sultan Ahmed to follow, the Omanis will be hoping to post decent totals against their more experienced opponents, while the attack will be led by Farhan Khan, who is not only a lively seamer but who hit a remarkable 47-ball, not-out 94 to take his side to victory over the USA in the 2005 ICC Trophy.

His new ball partner these days is Haider Ali, with Awal Khan available as a third seamer and Adnan Ilyas sometimes stepping into the attack as well.

But Oman rely heavily on their spinners, with skipper and slow left-armer Hemal Mehta, leg-spinners Zeeshan Siddiqui and Khalid Rashid, and former Karachi off-spinner Amir Ali providing plenty of variety.

Oman's first ambition will be to improve on their performance in 2005, when they went through the group stage without a win, losing to Scotland, Canada and Namibia in the process.

But they ran Canada close and went on to beat Uganda in the play-offs, and they then successfully chased a target of 272 against Namibia in Windhoek in 2007, thanks to an unbeaten century from Wategaonkar.

So they will begin their South African campaign convinced that even a place in the Super Eights is not beyond their capabilities.