Oman national squad during WCL Division 2 in Namibia in Apr 2019 - Image by Guru Prasanna (Oman Cricket - Road to Glory Facebook Page)

Although Hong Kong and Netherlands have lost their completed matches in the Oman 5-nation T20I tournament so far, both camps wouldn’t be reading too much into it. After all, Hong Kong are dealing with some crucial squad changes due to selection process for Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers, whereas Netherlands seasoned county specialists are trying to get the team combination right along with the regular players on the park before the main tournament in UAE less than a fortnight away.

Which brings to the fact that the host’s Oman and Nepal have been brilliant in the tournament so far, with Ireland also keeping pace along with them (having lost to Oman already) in the points table, with all to play for, still. What Ireland will be able to do in their final group stage game, and what transpires in the game between Oman and Nepal, would probably decide the eventual winners of the 5-nation series at Al Amerat.

All the teams except Nepal will travel to UAE after the completion of the tournament to play in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers, with conditions during the day/afternoon games to be somewhat similar to what the teams have experienced in Oman, the remaining games in the series will still provide them the last minute opportunities to try out some different combinations, as there will be just two more official warm-up matches in UAE remaining before the tournament proper to finalise the first-choice XI’s.

In the first three days of action, Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien became the first player from Ireland to register a T20I century, during their game against Hong Kong. For Nepal, Karan KC has been in scorching form, picking up 8 wickets in the 2 games and also playing a match-winning innings against Netherlands to take Nepal to victory.

Brief Scores

01st Match: Hong Kong 96/9 in 20 overs (Haroon Arshad 19 n.o, Nizakat Khan 17, Mohammad Nadeem 2/22, Khawar Ali 1/13, Aamir Kaleem 1/16, Bilal Khan 1/19) lost to Oman 97/3 in 13.5 overs (Zeeshan Maqsood 39 n.o, Khawar Ali 32, Kyle Christie 1/20, Nasrulla Rana 1/28) by 7 wickets

02nd Match: Netherlands 167/7 in 20 overs (Ben Cooper 65, Maxwell O’Dowd 38, Colin Ackermann 27, Roelof van der Merwe 22 n.o, Mark Adair 2/30, Craig Young 2/38, Boyd Rankin 1/27) lost to Ireland 169/4 in 18.2 overs (Harry Tector 47 n.o, Andrew Balbirnie 32, Gareth Delany 29, Kevin O’Brien 23, Paul Stirling 23, Shane Snater 2/21, Paul van Meekeren 1/26) by 6 wickets

03rd Match: Oman 173/9 in 20 overs (Aamir Kaleem 46, Jatinder Singh 40, Aqib Ilyas 21, Stuart Thompson 2/21, Mark Adair 2/28, Shane Getkate 1/23, Gareth Delany 1/27) beat Ireland 130 all out in 16.2 overs (Kevin O’Brien 39, Andrew Balbirnie 19, Mark Adair 18, Mohammad Nadeem 3/14, Khawar Ali 3/28, Bilal Khan 2/15, Aamir Kaleem 2/22) by 43 runs

04th Match: Hong Kong 125/6 in 20 overs (Waqas Barkat 37, Kinchit Shah 31, Nizakat Khan 23, Karan KC 4/36, Abinash Bohara 1/17) lost to Nepal 126/6 in 19 overs (Binod Bhandari 58 n.o, Aarif Sheikh 21, Nasrulla Rana 2/14, Kyle Christie 2/25) by 4 wickets

05th Match: Netherlands 133 all out in 19.3 overs (Maxwell O’Dowd 43, Colin Ackermann 29, Antonius Staal 21, Karan KC 4/17, Sandeep Lamichhane 4/20, Lalit Rajbanshi 1/28) lost to Nepal 134/6 in 19.5 overs (Paras Khadka 33, Karan KC 31 n.o, Binod Bhandari 26, Roelof van der Merwe 2/14, Paul van Meekeren 1/19, Brandon Glover 1/23, Colin Ackermann 1/9) by 4 wickets

06th Match: Ireland 208/5 in 20 overs (Kevin O’Brien 124, Paul Stirling 36, Ehsan Khan 3/32, Kyle Christie 2/33) beat Hong Kong 142/9 in 20 overs (Haroon Arshad 45, Ehsan Khan 28 n.o, Boyd Rankin 2/21, Suart Thompson 2/25, Gareth Delany 2/27, Simi Singh 1/9) by 66 runs

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