With their professional careers on the line defending a middling total of 159, United Arab Emirates produced a stirring fightback with the ball in the second half of Oman’s innings, eventually defeating their desert rivals by 46 runs at Affies Park.
Having chosen to bat first, UAE were banking on the selection of the extra spin-option in Imran Haider to come through after Ghulam Shabber‘s 63 provided the bulk of their first-innings runs. But it appeared to be well under par at the 25-over mark of the chase with Oman having reached 78 for 3. Haider’s radar was off early as well, getting smashed for two boundaries in an expensive 26th over, but a needless run out in the 27th sparked a stunning collapse.
Oman opener Jatinder Singh‘s technical brilliance was once again on display on a difficult batting wicket as the batsman anchored the innings with 51. But Oman’s dreams of advancing to Zimbabwe began to unravel with an innocuous push into the covers. Ajay Lalcheta bolted for a run from the non-striker’s end while Jatinder – batting on 45 – rightly refused. Rohan Mustafa collected quickly but needed to gamble with no back-up fielder in place. Ultimately, the UAE captain’s aim was true.
Jatinder brought up his fifty off Haider in the 28th, but appeared rattled by the run out and when Mohammad Naveed came into the attack for the 29th, he struck with his third ball, getting Jatinder to slash behind for 51. With the set batsman out and the wicket increasingly difficult for new batsmen arriving, the running between the wickets for Oman grew increasingly nervous as several opportunities for singles were hesitantly turned down.
Ahmed Raza, whose brilliant nine-over spell contributed to building pressure, struck for the second time when he beat Sultan Ahmed’s forward prod through the gate to make it 112 for 6 in 35. Oman still only needed only 48 off 15 overs, but the match only lasted another 11 deliveries. Smelling blood in the water, Haider and Naveed attacked to wipe out the tail – Oman’s last four batsmen scored zero – as their chances of qualifying for the 2019 World Cup came to a halt.