The opening day of action from ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers saw Ireland defeat Hong Kong by 8 wickets and Netherlands getting the better of Kenya, Oman beating UAE in slow conditions, but nothing could eclipse the start the tournament got in the very first match, in which Singapore created a major upset by defeating the defending qualifiers champion Scotland by the thinnest margin of 2 runs to leave the group in a wide-open state.
Oman bowlers expoited the slow conditions very well, as they exposed the batting chinks in the UAE line-up, which was not seen during the warm-up matches, to set up the game for their batsmen to register their first win of the tournament, coming on the back of some serious fine performances at home, where they had beaten the likes of Ireland, Netherlands, Hong Kong and Nepal.
Ireland and Netherlands wins very pretty much one-sided affair against Hong Kong and Kenya respectively, and will be feeling confident as they vie for the top spot in their respective groups and claim the automatic 2 guaranteed spots for the T20 World Cup in Australia, and not go through the play-off’s to secure their spots.
What has helped Netherlands cause even more is the fact that Singapore created all the headlines in the opening game, overcoming Scotland in the final over of the match to win by 2 runs. This comes after a series of T20I wins against the likes of Nepal and Zimbabwe in the past couple of months, and suddenly, their cricket looks far more secure than it has been on display in the previous years. And the fact that their Singapore-born Australian domestic cricket professional Timothy David had the most minimal contribution in their wins over Zimbabwe and Scotland shows that the team is gelling well an putting in some good collective performances to dish out the wins, rather than depending on 2-3 individuals to get the job done.
Matches come thick and fast in the qualifiers, with the 2nd day of action from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to feature 5 games, and by the end of the day, some of the leading teams will look to create a gap in the points table.
Singapore 168/6 in 20 overs (Surendran Chandramohan 51, Aritra Dutta 32, Manpreet Singh 26, Josh Davey 2/26, Safyaan Sharif 2/28, Hamza Tahir 1/26) beat Scotland 166/9 in 20 overs (George Munsey 46, Calum MacLeod 44, Kyle Coetzer 38, Selladore Vijayakumar 3/16, Sidhant Singh 2/27, Amjad Mahboob 2/36) by 2 runs
Hong Kong 153/5 in 20 overs (Kinchit Shah 79, Haroon Arshad 20, Aizaz Khan 16, Mark Adair 2/22, Gareth Delany 1/23, Stuart Thompson 1/27) lost to Ireland 155/2 in 17.2 overs (Andy Balbirnie 70 n.o, Paul Stirling 62, Harry Tector 21 n.o, Aizaz Khan 1/31) by 8 wickets
Netherlands 166/4 in 20 overs (Maxwell O’Dowd 53, Ben Cooper 36, Pieter Seelaar 24 n.o, Collins Obuya 2/16, Shem Ngoche 1/21, Nelson Odhiambo 1/40) beat Kenya 136/8 in 20 overs (Collins Obuya 63, Rakep Patel 26, Paul van Meekeren 3/27, Fred Klaassen 2/23, Roelof van der Merwe 1/15) by 30 runs
United Arab Emirates 108/9 in 20 overs (Muhammad Usman 27, Rohan Mustafa 24, Chirag Suri 16, Fayyaz Butt 3/16, Bilal Khan 3/23, Khawar Ali 1/15) lost to Oman 109/3 in 18.2 overs (Aqib Ilyas 45 n.o, Aamir Kaleem 27, Zeeshan Maqsood 16 n.o, Junaid Siddique 1/24, Ahmed Raza 1/23) by 7 wickets
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