Scotland’s Dominant Win Over Oman Puts Pressure on England in T20 World Cup

Scotland triumphed over Oman with a decisive seven-wicket victory in the T20 World Cup in Antigua, completing their chase with 41 balls to spare.

This emphatic win places England under significant pressure in Group B as the competition heats up.

Scotland’s Dominant Win Over Oman Puts Pressure on England in T20 World Cup
Brandon McMullen, celebrates, having successfully ended Scotland's pursuit. ICC/Getty Images

Oman 150 for 7 (Athavale 54, Ayaan 41*) lost against Scotland 153 for 3 (McMullen 61*, Munsey 41) by seven wickets.

Shall Scotland, maybe, reconsider sending them home? Everything will become clear in the thrilling final warm-up for Group B, but if England believed their crushing defeat in the 50-over World Cup last year was the height of humiliation, they may need to brace themselves for far more suffering, much closer to home.

This is the final result of an exuberant Scotland run-chase against Oman in Antigua, which was sparked by a fierce 41 from 20 balls knock from George Munsey and wrapped up with 41 balls remaining in a pointed hurry thanks to a combative 61 from 31 from Brandon McMullen, whose roar of victory reverberated throughout the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium as he dragged the winning boundary through square leg off Bilal Khan.

It was Scotland’s second win after the crucial wash-out against England that determined the direction of each team’s campaign, and it has given them complete control over their own advancement. If England fails to cause a net run-rate swing of almost four points in their next two games against Oman and Namibia, then even a close defeat to Australia might prove to be sufficient.

With three straight losses, Oman’s ambitions are dashed, and England gets to choose the terms of their own advancement in a way that is fitting for the reigning world champions.

In the end, Scotland outscored Oman by 11 sixes to 4, but two in particular, off consecutive balls in their chase’s seventh over, put an end to any chance that this would be a tight race to the finish. Munsey’s exceptional mastery of the reverse-sweep was evident during the England wash-out, but Scotland really got going when he twice sent Aqib Ilyas hurtling onto the grass banks at the left-hander’s backward point.

Though they hadn’t exactly been slow on the powerplay, reaching 50 for 1 in six overs thanks to two sixes in Michael Jones’s 16 from 13, Oman had no way of stopping a free-flowing lineup after that. With every man in the line-up ready to do the same, Scotland’s hitters continued to pour smashes down the field, and the last 103 runs of the chase were promptly eaten up in just 43 balls.

After his bugle-call blows, Munsey fell one over, but not before hammering another sweep onto the grass in a 16-run over that included five leg-side wides, demonstrating how far Oman had run out of hiding spots. Another careless catching performance by the most inconsistent side in the competition did little to aid their cause, including a poor catch by Rafiullah off McMullen at deep midwicket, although in all honesty, the club’s dedication to attacking meant that it probably wouldn’t have mattered much.

The captain of Scotland, Richie Berrington, typified this strategy when he hit Aqib for a six and a four before being bowled out for 13 from 7 by two googlies in the same over. However, as Ayaan Khan’s lone over was launched for 20, Matt Cross joined an increasingly liberated McMullen to romp over the mark with consecutive sixes of his own, put over square leg.

It was surprising that Oman, having won the toss, decided to bat first on a new pitch and island. Berrington was content to assess the situation and then pursue. However, with the help of a conscientious top-order score of 54 from 40 balls and a late burst of 41 from 39 from Ayaan, they managed to post what could have been a competitive 150 for 7, their highest total in three tournament attempts.

Also Read: Bumrah Leads India to Victory in A Nail-Biting Thriller Against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup

Scotland’s Dominant Win Over Oman Puts Pressure on England in T20 World Cup
Pratik Athavale celebrates his half-century. ICC/Getty Images

In his previous match against Australia, Athavale was dismissed for a first-ball duck. However, this time, he was the driving force behind an innings that never quite found its rhythm but continued forward nonetheless, aided by a positive mindset that stopped Scotland from setting the terms of play and possibly even caused a few careless moments, most notably when Munsey spilled the ball over the long-on ropes, allowing Athavale to reach his fifty from 38 balls.

Then, however, came a very telling shot delivered in a fit of rage by Naseem Khushi—a massive leading edge that hung in the breeze, kept three fielders in the chase, and still managed to sail cleanly over the far boundary at extra cover. It was a sign of the wealth that would be available to teams who hit with the wind and gave their shot their all. Two balls later, Khushi, for some reason, chose to go in the exact opposite direction, and Mark Watt at short backward square snagged an errant ramp. However, it turned out that his opponents would not overlook the lesson.

Watt, possibly Scotland’s most important bowling weapon, had not been at his most economical or incisive during the Namibian triumph, but for a variety of reasons, he was right back in the heart of things this time.

Following the ball’s delivery at the beginning of the powerplay, Watt blitzed his way through a three-run opening over, which featured one of his signature 24-yard long balls—bowled from behind the umpire to confuse the batter’s perception of length—from his third ball. However, despite giving Zeeshan Maqsood an edge at the conclusion of his second over, that delivery led to a small-scale disturbance when Khalid Kail, the new man, strayed into his sights.

Evidently anticipating the move, Kail abandoned his posture the first time, and then again, seemingly after Watt had told the umpire he would be producing it once more. This time, the ball struck the stumps, but it was once more declared dead, which infuriated the Scots because Kail had obviously been prepared to receive. But before it could escalate into a real incident, Watt snapped off the bails with an added sense of vindication, and Kail was forced back to look for a second run after he pushed his next ball into the covers.

A focused Scotland attack shared the remaining wickets, two of which went to the back-of-field Safyaan Sharif, who took Brad Currie’s position after the latter’s injury. This was Sharif’s 200th appearance for his country in all forms. He may yet get the chance to add a few more caps to that total before Scotland’s Caribbean tour is over if he plays well against Australia next week.

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