By Shahzad Raza

MUSCAT: Anything is possible in cricket and everything perhaps in a T20 game. Bahrain provided the proof with an incredible 6-wicket win over Qatar that kept beating the permutations that could have saved Oman from an unexpected exit from the ACC Western Region T20 Tournament here on Tuesday.

Hoping for a Bahrain loss to Qatar so that it could qualify for the semifinals after its big win over Maldives earlier in the day, Oman saw its hopes fade and quickly end in disappointment as Bahrain played out of its skin to first subdue Qatar and then dominate it like nobody could in the tournament so far.

Earlier, UAE had to use all its experience and energy to overcome a spirited Saudi Arabia in their last Group B game on Tuesday. The Emirates side now tops the group followed by Kuwait while Bahrain heads Group A followed by Qatar.

The Bahrainis first bowled like there was no tomorrow, firing in thunderbolts that went through the Qatari defences and then relied on the guile of its spinners to keep them guessing when they should have been going after them to set a fighting total on the board. Kamran Khan topscored again but his 46 came off 43 balls due perhaps to too many wickets falling around him. Abdul Majid was the pick of Bahraini bowlers, taking 4 for 23 runs.

Bahrain started the game as the third-placed team in Group A after Oman scored a 10-wicket win over Maldives in the morning game. Bahrain also knew it required 106 to win but doing it inside 15 overs would take its net run rate above that of Oman and that it could still top the group if those runs were scored inside 12 overs. In the next one hour or so Bahrain batted as well as Qatar bowled poorly to make all the possibilities work in its favour; throwing Oman out of the competition, relegating first-placed Qatar to second and avoiding a semifinal clash with the unbeaten UAE. Bahrain is now happy to play Kuwait in the semifinal clash on Wednesday, leaving Qatar to face the red-hot UAE in the other semifinal.

Bahrain captain Anasim Khan was overjoyed after the incredible win.

“I am proud of the way we played today. We had worked things out in our team meeting last night and knew well what was required to be done against Qatar as Oman was expected to beat Maldives we had to win and win pretty well to make it to the semifinals. We played our best game in the tournament so far to make it possible,” said an elated Khan.

“We started our match knowing that we must beat Qatar in 14 overs to overtake Oman in team standings and inside 12 overs to take the top spot in our group. We had a plan in place and everything worked in our favour. Sarfaraz (Ali) and Ammad (Uddin) played exceptionally well to make sure we crossed the line when it mattered,” he added.

In the afternoon’s other game, Kuwait had no trouble defeating a hapless Iran by 8 wickets and setting up a semifinal clash with Qatar.

Mohammed Aslam Nawfer bowled an outstanding spell of four overs, taking four wickets for only five runs as Iran scored 108 for 8. He bowled an unbelievable 20 dot balls out of the twenty four he delivered.

Usman Patel’s unbeaten 59 was the highlight of Kuwait’s response, completing a comfortable victory in the only 11.5 overs.

Tue 25-Feb

Qatar v Bahrain at OC Turf I
Qatar won the toss and chose to bat
Qatar: 106 for 9 off 20 overs (K.Khan 46; A.Majid 4-23)
Bahrain: 109 for 4 off 11.5 overs (S.Ali 43, A.Uddin 41*)
Man of the Match: Sarfaraz Ali (Bahrain)

Kuwait v Iran at OC Turf II
Kuwait won the toss and elected to field
Iran: 108 for 8 off 20 overs (M.Yousef 39; M.Nawfer 4-5)
Kuwait: 109 for 2 off 12.5 overs (U.Patel 59*, B.Tahir 34*)
Man of the Match: Mohamed Aslam Nawfer (Kuwait)


Tournament page

Filed February 25th, 2020