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World T20 2021 | OMA vs PNG: Oman captain Maqsood bamboozles Barramundis with a three-wicket over

When Papua New Guinea skipper Assad Vala hit fifty and became the first-ever PNG player to hit a fifty in a World Cup, he wouldn’t have thought in just a span of 10 balls and 11 runs, his team would be on the receiving end of damages as they lost four wickets, with three of them coming one over, bowled by his Omani counterpart Zeeshan Maqsood. 

Maqsood came on to bowl in the 16th over with PNG on 112-4 and looking to up the ante in an over by a spinner. However, he had some other ideas as he removed batter Sese Bau, all-rounder Norman Vanua and Kiplin Doriga to break the back of the Barramundis batting order. 

When Vala was dismissed at the team score of 102, he would have not thought that his team would be getting undone in a couple of overs after that. 

But there was more to follow after the Maqsood over as Bilal Khan removed Simon Attai on the last ball of the 17th over to give PNG its eighth dismissal. Zeeshan came back in the 18th over and removed Damien Ravu to get the team in black and yellow nine down for 118. It was a great collapse as the team from the pacific went from 102-3 to 118-9. 

Maqsood came to bowl the 20th over, looking for a five-wicket haul which would have been the first five-wicket haul for an Oman bowler in T20 World Cup. But it wasn't to be as PNG maned to get to 129-9 in their 20 overs. Nonetheless, with his figures of 4-20, Maqsood finished with the best figures for an Omani bowler in World Cup and T20 cricket.

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World T20 2021 | In group of death, well balanced Namibia could turn out to be the dark horse

It is not often that a team making its debut in a World event is as strong and balanced as the current Namibian side is. The team is full of players who at their day could even be better than the best as far as Associate nations are concerned. With the inclusion of David Weiese, a name that has frequented T20 leagues across the world and is currently bowling like a beast, the Eagles would fancy themselves to cross one hurdle and finish with their best-ever performance in a World Cup. The last time a Namibian team was in the World Cup, was back in 2003 when World Cup was played in the African continent. While that side lost all its games, it surely did inspire kids back home to play the game. And in a country which focuses mainly on Rugby Union, Golf and Athletics, the 2003 Cricket World Cup was a breath of fresh air. But that wasn’t able to carry the team too far as it failed to make it to any other big tournament since. However, in 2018, after a disappointing World Cricket League 2 campaign, which saw them miss out on a spot at the Qualifier for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, a wholesome change took place in Namibian Cricket and former Leicestershire coach Pierre de Bruyn was appointed as team’s head coach with former Proteas all-rounder Albie Morkel made his assistant. The team not only got back its ODI status after winning World Cricket League 2 next year but also received full-time contracts for the playing group. The winds of change were finally blowing and those winds took the team to the ICC T20 World Cup 2019 Qualifier in UAE. Namibia's road to World T20 2021 Having been left agonizingly behind in their last three qualifying campaigns for the T20 World Cups, the start that the Namibian team had wasn’t promising whatsoever and looked like it was going to be the same old case once again. But this team was different and it showed exactly why? After losing to the Netherlands and Papua New Guinea, the Gerhard Erasmus led side won four consecutive games to finish third in their group and book a match in the Playoffs Semi-Final. Namibia carried the momentum of the four wins in their Playoffs Semi-final game against Oman, which had had a stellar tournament until their last game in which they lost to Jersey and couldn’t get a direct qualification. Namibia rubbed salts in those Omani wounds as they beat the favourites by a huge margin of 54 runs to book their ticket to the T20 World Cup. It played two more games in the tournament against PNG and Ireland and lost both, but they were irrelevant as the Eagles had already made their flight. Post their qualifying campaign, the blue brigade have played three ODIs and six T20Is. While they won all T20Is, beating teams like UAE, Scotland and PNG, their two World Cup warm-up games have resulted in losses against Oman and Scotland. The David Wiese boost to a strong all-around group The biggest flex of this Nambvian team going into the World Cup is ait’s all-r0unders who could win the game for the team on any given day. While previously it had to be contained with JJ Smit, Jan Frylinck and young leg-spin bowling all-rounder Nicol Loftie-Eaton, it now also has in its arsenal, one of the finest weapons in form of former South African all-rounder David Weise. While Smit and Frylinck’s left arm bowling combined with spinner Bernard Scholtz makes a deadly left-arm combination, the two are also more than good enough with the bat having to their name half-centuries in T20Is and strike rates that are decent enough. In fact, Smit strikes at more than 150 and his sixes are a spectacle to watch. Add to that the impact of Wiese, who has taken 24 T20I and strikes at 143.52 in international T20Is, the Namibian all-round department suddenly becomes lethal. Apart from his international exposure against big-ticket teams, the 36-year-old’s experience of more than 260 T20Is, which he has played across all big leagues such as IPL, PSL, BBL and The Hundred, could very well be converted into wins in pressure situations. The ambitions This Namibian team has done some great things coming into the tournament and they are here to get to the second round as their biggest motivation. With the likes of Albie Morkel, David Weise and coach Pierre de Bruyn by their side, who have achieved great things earlier and know how to get off the cliff at the time of the pressure, the skipper Erasmus’ ‘big day’ motivation move might just take them past the qualifying round. Can they do it? For Namibia to qualify, the biggest hurdle is in the form of the Netherlands and Ireland because beating Sri Lanka might not be that easy, but it is not to say that they can’t beat them. The Eagles play their first game against Sri Lanka and learning from the mistakes that they make in this one, they could try and win the next two and make it to the Super 12. It is as simple as that. Although they have not beaten both Ireland and Netherlands in past, it does not mean that they can’t beat them. Namibia T20 World Cup Squad Gerhard Erasmus (c), Stephen Baard, Karl Birkenstock, Michau du Preez, Jan Frylinck, Zane Green, Nicol Lofie-Eaton, Bernard Scholtz, Ben Shikongo, JJ Smit, Ruben Trumpelmann, Michael van Lingen, David Wiese, Craig Williams, Picky Ya France Reserves: Mauritius Ngupita Namibia T20 World Cup fixtures 18 Oct Namibia v Sri Lanka 20 Oct Namibia v the Netherlands 22 Oct Namibia v Ireland