Ireland v Oman, WT20 qualifier, Group A, Dharamsala March 9, 2016

Joy for underdogs Oman, Ireland stunned

108

Oman 157 for 8 (Maqsood 38, McBrine 2-15) beat Ireland 154 for 5 (Wilson 38, Ansari 3-37) by two wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Oman celebrate their dramatic victory over Ireland in Dharamsala © International Cricket Council

Oman pulled off a stunning upset against a side that is known for upsetting stronger sides in global tournaments, shocking Ireland with a two-wicket win with two balls to spare in Dharamsala. Chasing 155 on a slow track, Oman's fortunes swung from one extreme to the other: the openers gave them a strong start but the middle order wobbled, before an Amir Ali cameo turned things around again. They eventually sealed a historic win by taking 15 runs off a frenetic final over from Max Sorensen, who lost his lengths during a spate of full tosses that left Ireland in anguish.

Oman needed 14 off the last over with three wickets in hand. The first ball from Sorenson was a shoulder-high full toss and Amir managed to steer it to the fine-leg boundary. Amir could only take a bye off the free-hit - a yorker that hit the stumps. With eight needed off five, another full toss followed - a wide one - and Ajay Lalcheta managed to edge a swipe past the keeper to the third-man boundary. Another single took it to three needed off three. The game was almost Oman's now, but Sorensen had Amir nicking to the wicketkeeper. And then, with three needed off two balls, Sorensen bowled another high full toss that beat both batsman and keeper and raced to the boundary to set off joyous celebrations in the Oman camp.

At 95 for 5, with Oman needing 61 off 30 balls, those celebrations seemed improbable before Amir cut loose. He dispatched Sorensen over the midwicket boundary and used clever shots against the experienced Tim Murtagh in the 17th over to bring the equation down to 23 from 18. Murtagh helped Oman's cause with a no-ball and two wides in the over and Amir then finished it with three consecutive fours to tilt the balance. Kevin O'Brien kept Ireland alive by conceding only five runs in the 18th, and Oman lost two more wickets in the 19th before that dramatic finish.

Oman's openers Zeeshan Maqsood and Khawar Ali had put on a stand of 69 in 8.3 overs that kept the required run rate under eight per over. Maqsood peppered the leg side with one cracking shot after another and cashed in on loose deliveries with several swipes. He spanked three fours off Boyd Rankin in the third over and Khawar also switched gears after having faced several dot balls initially. Khawar attacked O'Brien with a consecutive four and six before he was bowled and O'Brien jolted Oman further with the wicket of Maqsood in his next over.

William Porterfield then switched between Paul Stirling, Sorensen and Andy McBrine who stifled Oman with 23 boundary-less balls. McBrine made things worse for Oman by collecting two wickets in four balls in the 14th over, reducing them to 90 for 5, but that brought out Amir, who proved too dangerous for Ireland.

Having opted to bat though dew was going to come into play later on, Ireland's first few overs were filled with crunchy drives from Stirling after left-arm spinner Ajay Lalcheta started with a maiden. Stirling attacked Bilal Khan and took the score to 46 for 0 in the Powerplay as his partner Porterfield raced from 4 off 11 to 14 off 17 before the field could be spread out.

Ireland were left stunned when Maqsood took a spectacular one-handed catch at extra cover, intercepting a Stirling drive and ending his innings. Ireland needed momentum to build on but could not find any because Oman brought on one spinner after another. No. 3 Gary Wilson started accelerating with two fours in the 10th over but when Porterfield tried to do the same by stepping out, he was stumped off Khawar for 29. The Ireland batsmen picked up a boundary almost every over after that but the sluggish pitch made it tough to find them more often, even off full tosses.

Wilson worked hard for an innings of 38 that ended when his stumps were splattered by Munis Ansari, who also dismissed Niall O'Brien in the same over. Ansari had leaked 15 in his first over but he bowled the remaining three to not allow Ireland to get too far. He bowled yorkers, slower ones, and targeted the stumps to concede 22 runs off his last 18 balls. It was only in his last over, which leaked 12, that McBrine collected two fours to help Ireland past 150.

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • markbrop on March 11, 2016, 9:36 GMT

    John-Price: "@ wpbus13 - The reason Ireland have not taken the next step is that they are essentially the same bunch of players that they had ten year ago, its just that they are now past their best."

    To be honest John we've never been that good in the T20 format even though we had a great record in the qualifiers under Simmons. We did manage a great win over the West Indies in the Caribbean when Ed Joyce guided us home in a low scoring game but we havent beaten any of the big eight in a T20 World Cup game. However we have beaten England, Pakistan and West Indies in the 50 over World Cup. Other than Kevin O'Brien and Paul Stirling I dont think our batsmen are suited to this format.

  • takala on March 10, 2016, 18:07 GMT

    Thank you Sir Viv for clearing that up. It is so odd when the football teams are all separate nations. In Atheletes it is UK only(ie inc N Ireland) And now in cricket it is N Ireland and Rep of Ireland combined!

  •   Kevin Mackintosh on March 10, 2016, 18:01 GMT

    That Ireland side, with all due respect to Oman, should not lose to Oman. They have four high class professionals, all of whom should be taking ownership of the game. Rankin and Murtgah failed to take charge against amateurs. Terrible display.

    What was Sorenson doing in the last over? Has he never bowled the last over in a T20? Same for Murtagh's wides and no-ball over, and Rankin's over that went for 12. Getting slogged by an amateur?

  • John-Price on March 10, 2016, 16:39 GMT

    @ wpbus13 - The reason Ireland have not taken the next step is that they are essentially the same bunch of players that they had ten year ago, its just that they are now past their best.

  • wpbus13 on March 10, 2016, 13:52 GMT

    Ireland have not taken that next step, not sure why? They are expected to be dominating some of these "lesser" nations by now but not the case. A couple nations have caught up or even gone past them.

  • souharddhya on March 10, 2016, 12:19 GMT

    disappointed wid Ireland loss.... they are one of my favourite sides

  • Bangladeshi_Bangali on March 10, 2016, 11:49 GMT

    @BEHUMAN, you have made a valid point.

  • SirViv1973 on March 10, 2016, 11:47 GMT

    @Takala, This isn't a Republic of Ireland team it's an all Ireland team which means it incorporates players from Northern Ireland which is still part of the UK. The likes of Rankin, Porterfield, McBrine Young, Thompson & Wilson all come from Northern Ireland. As well as that the Poynters & Murtagh were born in England meaning more than half of the squad come from outside the Irish republic.

  • SirViv1973 on March 10, 2016, 11:35 GMT

    @AFANOFGOODCRICKET, I could not agree more. It should be a 16 team event with 4 groups of 4. Ideally the top 2 would then qualify for KO QF. However I do understand the demands of tv so the last 8 could be divided in to 2 further groups of 4 then semis & final. The whole format is designed to ensure Ind stay in for as long as possible & that we don't see a repeat of the 2007 WC. That was nearly a decade ago & the ICC need to get over it. Realistically would the current Ind team not make the top 2 of a 4 team group including 2 associates?

  • AFanOfGoodCricket on March 10, 2016, 10:28 GMT

    ICC treats the associates like dirt. They have no intention of expanding the game. It should have been a 16 team tournament. I feel this qualification round is insulting for the associates and Bangladesh. 1 loss and you are out of the tournament. All teams need to protest this.

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