(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Sedate but solid unbeaten half-centuries from Mohammad Nadeem and Suraj Kumar, coupled with excellent bowling spell by medium-pacers, guided Oman to a winning start as Team Red trounced US by six wickets in their opening match of the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division Two in Windhoek, Namibia, on Saturday.
It was Oman's sixth successive victory over US, starting its streak from WCL Division Three in Uganda in 2017.
Having bowled out US for paltry 148 in 37.5 overs, with Oman fast bowlers – Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah and Ahmed Fayyaz Butt – sharing seven wickets, Duleep Mendis' men negotiated the chase cautiously after a stuttering start to reach the target in 48th over.
Giving Nadeem company in Oman's successful chase was wicketkeeper-batsman Suraj Kumar as the duo shared an unbeaten fifth-wicket stand of 97 runs. Nadeem remained unbeaten on 55 off 120 balls that included two boundaries and a six while Kumar's unbeaten 50 came off 76 balls and had two boundaries and two sixes.
Oman's chase was rocked early by US bowler Ali Khan (4-27) as he sent back the openers – Khawar Ali and Jatinder Singh – and No 3 batsman Aqib Ilyas by the tenth over, sending Ali and Ilyas back off successive balls in the sixth over. With Oman languishing at 17 for three, skipper Zeeshan Maqsood tried to rebuild the inning with Nadeem but became Khan's fourth victim in the 22nd over with the team score at 55. Rains interrupted play at this stage but after a short break, play resumed.
Maqsood's wicket was the last success for US as Nadeem and Kumar exhibited loads of concentration and confidence to guide the team home.
Earlier, Oman's pace trio of Butt, Khan and Kaleemullah, ripped through the US batting to leave it struggling at 59 for five.
The match also witnessed a scary incident in the 16th over as Jaskaran Malhotra suffered a head injury off Nadeem's short ball with the score at 47 for three. Malhotra was later taken to hospital but was declared fit and returned to crease to bat later in the innings with the team 124 for seven.
Monank Patel (25) provided the early resistance before Timil Patel (20) and Roy Silva (33) shared a 45-run crucial sixth-wicket stand that was broken by Maqsood in the 28th over. Silva left with team score of 124 in the 31st over but US tail saw the team reach 148.
The six-nation event also features Hong Kong, hosts Namibia, Canada and Papua New Guinea (PNG). After the first round games, Hong Kong, Namibia and Oman have two points each following respective wins over Canada, PNG and US. On Sunday, Oman meets Canada.
Brief scores: US 148 in 37.5 overs (Monank 25, Timil 20, Silva 33; Khan 2-32, Kaleemullah 2-41, Butt 3-23, Maqsood 2-24) lost to Oman 152-4 in 47.5 overs (Maqsood 28, Nadeem 55 n.o., Kumar 50 n.o.; Ali Khan 4-27).