Dubai, April 25 (IANS): Oman has moved to the brink of securing an ODI status and a spot in the ICC Mens Cricket World Cup League 2 with a convincing win over Hong Kong.
Oman is the only side with three victories from three games in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Windhoek, Namibia, after a destructive performance on Wednesday with the ball and a well-timed run chase earned the team a seven-wicket triumph to keep them top of the table, the Dubai-based ICC said in a statement.
With the top four teams at the end of the week in Namibia earning ODI status and more competitive cricket in the newly-formed Men's Cricket World Cup League 2, only an unlikely set of results over the final two rounds of group matches can deny the Omanis.
The US and Namibia are also in good shape to secure a top-four spot after picking up their second victories on the third day of action - the Americans easing to a 10-wicket win over Papua New Guinea and the hosts beating Canada by 98 runs.
In Oman's clash against Hong Kong, who were asked to bat, Bilal Khan (4/30) removed dangerman Anshuman Rath - who had made 114 and 85 in his first two innings this week - for just three, while the rest of the top order also went cheaply to leave Hong Kong languishing at 47 for four.
But number five Babar Hayat made a patient 56 to start the rebuilding process as a fifth-wicket stand of 62 alongside Tanwir Afzal (32) and a handy 26 from wicketkeeper Scott McKechnie moved them to 176 for seven.
However, three wickets in one Khan over - including McKechnie being run out - saw Hong Kong all out for 176 with 12 balls remaining.
Oman then expertly crafted their chase as an opening-wicket partnership of 79 between Jatinder Singh and Khawar Ali provided the perfect platform.
Even when Ali was run out for 28 by Ehsan Nawaz it mattered little, as Aqib Ilyas (27) and then Mohammad Nadeem (31 not out) kept the scoreboard ticking.
Oman skipper Zeeshan Maqsood (14 not out) hit the winning run once Singh holed out for 65 to secure a seven-wicket triumph with 27 balls remaining and keep the Asian outfit in pole position atop the table.