ONE-DAY PRACTICE MATCH: OMAN SNATCHES NARROW VICTORY

Oman’s tail literally wagged against a dogged Nepal bowling attack as allrounder Ajay Lalcheta and fast bowler Mohammed Nadeem produced a rear guard 32-run unbeaten stand for the eighth wicket to eke out a hard-earned three-wicket win in a one-day practice match in Abu Dhabi, UAE on Saturday.

Chasing 185 for victory at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Oman had slumped from an advantageous 70 for one in 12 overs to a troublesome 155 for seven, when Lalcheta (20 not out) and Nadeem (10 not out) stemmed the rot to see Oman through with 1.5 overs to spare.

The victory for coach Duleep Mendis’ men was also made possible thanks to fast bowler Bilal Khan (4-26), whose left-arm heroics earlier in the day kept the Nepal total under control.

Sent in to bat after losing the toss, Nepal lost a few early wickets, then recovered through handy knocks from Gyanendra Malla (71) and skipper Paras Khadka (49), before again losing a clutch of wickets in a hurry to close out for a modest total of 185 in 49.3 overs.

Khadka joined Malla at the crease with the scoreboard reading a precarious 26 for three and the duo patiently put on 77 runs for the fourth wicket in what was the highlight of the Nepal innings.

Oman quick Munis Ansari (2-27) and leg-spinner Khawar Ali (3-34) gave Bilal useful support and made key inroads into the Nepal innings on either side of the Malla-Khadka partnership.

Chasing an under-200 target, Oman appeared to be safely on track till opening batsman Zeeshan Maqsood (52) and Jatinder Singh (41) were around. After their departures, though, the Nepal bowlers made several more inroads as Oman lost six wickets for just 85 runs.

Left-arm spinner Shakti Gauchan (3-19) and left-arm medium pacer Mehboob Alam (2-29) did most of the damage for Nepal. With Oman needing 30 at one stage with only three wickets in hand, Nepal clearly held the edge before the Lalcheta-Nadeem unbeaten stand turned things around.

In a practice game on Thursday, Papua New Guinea defeated Oman by two wickets in a rain-affected contest in Dubai.

The Oman team is in UAE on a month-long tour as part of preparations for the 2016 World T20 in India.

Brief scores: Nepal 184 in 49.3 overs (Gyanendra Malla 71, Paras Khadka 49; Bilal Khan 4-26, Khawar Ali 3-34, Munis Ansari 2-27) lost to Oman 187-7 in 48.1 overs (Zeeshan Maqsood 52, Jatinder Singh 41, Ajay Lalcheta 20 not out; Shakti Gauchan 3-19, Mehboob Alam 2-29).

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY