Oman stun Ireland for maiden victory

10 March 2016

World No.17 beat Ireland on their tournament debut to blow Group A wide open

ICC World T20 - Men,


The match in a tweet: O-man, what an upset! Ireland stunned by Gulf nation on debut as the world No.17 chase down 155

The turning point: Ireland appeared to have arrested the momentum back after a flying start from Oman's openers, reducing them to 5-90 with six overs remaining in pursuit of 155 to win. But a nine-ball over from Ireland quick Tim Murtagh - including two wides and a no-ball - went for 20 runs to put Oman firmly in the box seat needing just 23 to win from the final three overs. The right-armer was made to pay for the three extra deliveries, with the final three balls of the over dispatched to the boundary.

The hero: The man who did the damage in Murtagh's over - and the match-winner for Oman - was 37-year-old Aamer Ali. The bespectacled right-hander hit five fours and a six in his crucial cameo of 32 from 17 balls, helping Oman win by two wickets with two balls to spare. The victory papered over a poor umpiring decision to dismiss Aamer in the final over, with replays showing no edge on the way through to the keeper. Not that Aamer and his teammates will care about that.

Aamer Ali
Oman's hero Aamer Ali hits out in Dharamshala // Getty Images

The catch: "If that's still not the catch of the tournament at the end ... someone has done a miracle." That from commentator and former West Indies quick Ian Bishop says it all. Watch Zasheen Maqsood's effort below ... and then watch it again.

WATCH: Catch of the tournament from Zasheen Maqsood

The Slinger 2.0: The world's first look at Oman on the big stage unveiled a unique character in the form of 29-year-old quick Munis Ansari. The balding right-armer boasts an action similar to that of Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga and West Indian Fidel Edwards, a slingy side-on style that is rare in the modern game. Ansari showed a bit as well, picking up three wickets and showing plenty of passion out in the middle.

Musi Ansari
Fiery Oman fast-bowler Munis Ansari // Getty Images

The save: This sort of acrobatics has almost become commonplace in the modern game, but it makes it no less impressive when it happens. An athletic piece of work from Ireland's Gary Wilson on the boundary line saved five runs for his side as the match went down to the wire, although it was to no avail in the end. Watch Wilson's effort below and some more boundary-line gymnastics.

WATCH: Amazing save from Gary Wilson

The ghost ball: It may have been Ansari's unusual action or the distraction of some moths floating around the centre of the ground, but Kevin O'Brien clearly didn't see the ball that dismissed him. Chasing quick runs in the final over, O'Brien backed away from his stumps and looked to work Ansari through the off-side but seemed to lose sight of the ball as it was sent down the pitch. His stumps were demolished and O'Brien was left to wonder exactly what had just happened.

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien ponders exactly what went wrong // Getty Images

The close call: Ireland's first wicket was a long time coming after a rollicking opening stand of 69, so it was with great frustration that Khawar Ali chopped a Kevin O'Brien delivery back onto his stumps. As the opener began to walk off the ground, he looked up at the advancing O'Brien and then, a few moments later, violently swiped his bat in frustration, narrowly missing O'Brien as he ran down the pitch to celebrate. The incident appeared accidental and O'Brien was quick to shake it off, but it could have been a lot worse.

Kevin O'Brien
Khawar Ali and Kevin O'Brien almost clash // Getty Images

What it all means: In this tight opening stage of the World T20, Ireland's tournament is now on the ropes ahead of matches against Group A favourites Bangladesh on Friday and the Netherlands on Sunday. Oman will now take on the Dutch on Friday with another unlikely win there possibly setting up a winner-takes-all clash against Bangladesh on Sunday.