England beats Oman by 8 wickets to boost chances at T20 World Cup


PTI, Jun 14, 2024, 8:03 AM IST

Credit: @ICC / X

North Sound (Antigua) (AP): Adil Rashid took 4-11 as England boosted its chances of reaching the Super Eight stage of the Twenty20 World Cup by bowling out Oman for 47 on Thursday en route to an eight-wicket win in a pivotal match for the defending champion.

Phil Salt then launched the first two balls of the England innings for sixes before being bowled third ball in a dramatic start as England chased the fastest-possible win. It reached 50-2 from only 3.1 overs, led by captain Jos Buttler’s 24 from eight balls.

It was not only the magnitude of the win but the speed with which it was achieved that helped improve England’s outlook at the tournament. It moved up to third in Group B with three points, behind already qualified Australia (six points) and Scotland (five points).

Most importantly, England’s net run-rate that was minus 1.800 before the match is now plus 3.08, ahead of Scotland’s plus 2.164.

England took a point from its first match against Scotland and was beaten by 36 runs by Australia. That made it imperative that it not only won Thursday’s match but won it emphatically to improve its run-rate and prospects.

Buttler won the toss and chose to bowl, theorizing that England would be in a better position to manage the run rate equation if it was chasing.

The plan worked when England bowled out Oman for 47 in 13.2 overs on a glassy surface at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium which supported both Rashid’s leg spinners and the England fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.

“We played exceptionally well,” Rashid said. “At the top Woody and Jofra set the tone and I thought we bowled exceptionally well as a team to bowl them out for 47.

“It’s always nice to bowl the first ball and to see it spinning. When you get a wicket first ball as well it sets the tone a bit more.”

England needed quick wickets Thursday and Archer delivered, capturing his first wicket with the second ball of the second over of the match. He had Pratik Athavale caught at cover by Salt from a full, fast delivery that Athavale mis-timed.

Archer then dismissed captain Aqib Ilyas in the fourth over when Oman was 16-2. Ilyas cut the ball to Will Jacks at backward point who held the catch just above grass-top height.

The England quicks operated well in tandem at the top of the innings and Wood added the wickets of Zeeshan Maqsood (1), caught and bowled, and Kashyap Prajapati (9) to leave Oman 25-4 at the end of the six-over power play.

Prajapati was out to the last over of the power play and Khalid Kail (1) was stumped by Buttler from the bowling of Rashid to the first ball afterward. Rashid also dismissed Mehran Khan (0), Fayyaz Butt (2) and Kaleemullah (5). His googly was particularly troublesome for the Oman batters.

Archer returned to dismiss Shoaib Khan (11) and finished with 3-12 and Wood removed Ayaan Khan (1) and also took 3-12.

Salt clubbed the first two balls of the England innings over the long boundaries for sixes, then was bowled by the third ball from Bilal Khan (1-36) as he teed off again. Jacks came in and defended the fourth ball in a rare moment of calm.

Buttler carried his bat to get England home with 101 balls to spare, hitting a six and four fours. Jonny Bairstow hit two fours from the two balls he faced, including the winning runs from the first ball of the fourth over.

England will now play Namibia on Sunday. Its qualification for the Super Eight stage is still dependent on the outcome of the other group match Sunday between Australia and Scotland.

If Scotland wins, it will qualify. England likely would advance if Australia wins with a superior net run-rate.

“I thought the tone was set really well by the bowlers who managed to pick up those early wickets and restrict them and knock them off,” Buttler said. “Job done today and we’ve got another big game in two days time.”

Buttler said he told the England batters “just to be ultra-positive. We’d spoken in the lead-up to this about how we have to win games and if we get the chance we have to try to take advantage with the net run-rate and we managed to do that today.”

Earlier, Bangladesh edged closer to confirming its second-round qualification by beating the Netherlands by 25 runs.

Bangladesh WinsWrist spinner Rishad Hossain spun Bangladesh to victory picking 3-33 in four overs, after star all-rounder Shakib al Hasan had scored 64 not out off 46 balls.

Bangladesh had put up 159-5 after it was put into bat, while the Netherlands was restricted to 134-8 in response in their Group D game.

With one game remaining, Bangladesh needs just two points to advance. It faces Nepal on Monday.

The Netherlands also needs a win against Sri Lanka on the same day, but will also depend on Bangladesh’s result for its chances of qualifying.

Group leader South Africa has already confirmed its top spot from the group with three straight wins.

Put into bat, Bangladesh opener Tanzid Hassan led the way with 35 off 26 balls. It was pegged back by off-spinner Aryan Dutt picking two early wickets.

Shakib and Hassan then added 48 off 32 balls to steady the ship. Paul van Meekeren provided the breakthrough by removing Hassan, but Shakib carried the innings through with 50 off 38 balls. He hit nine fours.

Afghanistan plays Papua New Guinea in Trinidad. (AP)

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