In a stunning upset, Oman defeated Ireland by five wickets with 11 balls to spare in the World Cup Qualifier. This marks Oman’s first-ever ODI win against a Full Member nation. Ireland, considered a favorite in the tournament, scored 281 for 7, with George Dockrell’s career-best 91* being the standout performance. Oman’s spinners kept Ireland’s batters on a leash in the middle overs, with Ayaan Khan and Jay Odedra particularly effective.
Oman’s chase was characterized by professionalism and nervelessness. Kashyap Prajapati, Aqib Ilyas, and captain Zeeshan Maqsood all scored crucial fifties, stitching partnerships at every corner. Oman never looked hurried, with the required run rate never getting out of hand. Mark Adair got the ball to move around up top, but Oman’s batters kept the good balls out and capitalized on the loose ones. Ilyas targeted Graham Hume by slamming him for three successive fours in the seventh over, adding to Oman’s momentum.
Maqsood, who came in at No. 4, added a 63-run stand with Prajapati and then a 56-run partnership with Mohammad Nadeem. At no point did the required rate go above six an over, as Oman’s batters got boundaries regularly and rotated the strike brilliantly. Maqsood reached his fifty off 58 balls before falling soon after, but there were no flutters in the Oman camp. Nadeem (46*), Ayaan (21), and Shoaib Khan (19) all played their part as Oman cantered home.
Ireland’s loss was due in part to losing both openers, Andy McBrine and Paul Stirling, off consecutive balls. Captain Andrew Balbirnie fell for a 19-ball 7, and Ireland lost 3 for 18 in seven overs. Dockrell and Harry Tector added 79 runs for the fifth wicket, with Tector falling after his fifty. Dockrell took the innings deep, helping Ireland slam 86 runs off the final ten overs. However, the fact that they faced 157 dot balls in their innings was always going to haunt them.
Oman’s victory sparked delirious scenes in the dugout, with fans and players alike celebrating a historic win. This upset sets the tone for an exciting tournament, with Oman proving that they are a force to be reckoned with.