DHARAMSALA: World Twenty20 debutants Oman stunned Ireland by two wickets in a thrilling last-over finish on Wednesday with lower-order batsman Aamer Ali’s 32-run blitz achieving the target with two balls to spare.
Oman openers Zeeshan Maqsood and Khawal Ali provided a 69-run opening stand only to see the middle-order give it away with the side reeling at 90 for five after 14 overs.
Aamer, who hit five boundaries and a six in his 17-ball stay, then stitched a crucial sixth-wicket stand with Jatinder Singh as Irish medium-pacer Max Sorensen failed to stop 14 runs from the last over.
It was indeed a great achievement for the Sultan Ahmed-led side, which mostly consists of Indian and Pakistani expats.
“We were trying to get boundaries every over. We have done a lot of hard work before coming to the World Cup, and finally it has paid off,” 37-year-old Ali told cricinfo.com through a translator.
Earlier, Bangladesh secured a narrow win against a spirited Netherlands.
Opener Tamim Iqbal struck an unbeaten 83 before the bowlers secured an eight-run win.
Put into bat, Bangladesh suffered from a lack of partnerships but Tamim, with his fourth T20 half-century, almost single-handedly lifted the score to 153 for seven.
It was a disappointing show of batting from a side which sparkled in the recently concluded Asia Cup, where the hosts ended runners-up after a keenly contested final against India.
Tamin though remained unaffected with the wicket-fall as the left-hander smacked six boundaries and three sixes during his 58-ball stay.
The Dutch batsmen also put up a brave show to give Bangladesh a run for their money but ultimately experience prevailed and the minnows were restricted to 145 for seven in their 20 overs.
Mashrafe Morataza-led Bangladesh are favourites to top their group and move into the Super 10 stage of the 16-team event.
Scotland will play Zimbabwe, while Afghanistan are slated to meet Hong Kong in the two Group B matches on Thursday.