AL AMERAT (Agencies): Zeeshan Maqsood returned bowling figures of 4-20 to set up a 10-wicket win for hosts Oman in the Twenty20 World Cup opener against debutants Papua New Guinea on Sunday.
Maqsood’s four wickets, including three in one over, kept PNG to 129 for nine in the first round match at the Al Amerat ground outside Muscat.
Openers Aqib Ilyas (50 from 43 balls) and Jatinder Singh (73 from 42) then clattered the PNG bowlers around the ground without being parted to steer Oman home with 6.2 overs to spare, handing Papua New Guinea a tough lesson in their first ever World Cup outing.
Singh reached his fifty — the first for an Omani batter in World Cups — with the third of his sixes and brought up victory with the fourth by which stage Ilyas had joined him in the half-century club.
Maqsood remained the hero with his left-arm spin as he struck thrice in one over to rattle PNG who had lost both their openers for nought. PNG captain Assad Vala, who made 56 off 43 balls, and Charles Amini, who smashed 37, hit back with an attacking third-wicket partnership of 81.
But Mohammad Nadeem ran out the left-handed Amini with a direct throw at the non-striker’s end to break the stand and that opened the door for Maqsood. “They were batting very well when I got the wickets. And because we got the wickets, they couldn’t put on a big total,” said Maqsood.
“I just try to keep it tight and not give away loose balls. We knew the wicket was playing very well, we needed to make sure we didn’t give away loose balls and easy boundaries.”
Maqsood sent back Norman Vanua, Sese Bau and Kiplin Doriga in the space of five deliveries and later took one more as Papua New Guinea collapsed from 102-3.
“It wasn’t a good start with the bat, losing two wickets with no runs,” said Vala. “But we fought back very well to get in a position to put on a good total. That collapse in the end was very disappointing.”
New-ball bowlers Bilal Khan and Kaleemullah, who goes by just one name, took two wickets each.