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Scotland's win over Ireland in the ongoing Oman Quadrangular T20I series has kept the series alive. In the other encounter, Netherlands thrashed the hosts convincingly by eight wickets. Should Ireland win against the Netherlands on Sunday, the last encounter of the series, between Scotland and Oman, will govern the table-toppers and the winner of the series. Oman and Scotland will lock horns in the final ODI of the series on 17th February at Al Amarat. Scotland received a lifeline to stay in contention for the top spot with a terrific win over Ireland in the previous game. Oman, on the other hand, have been found struggling in both the game they've played so far. Although they are no longer in contention to finish anywhere near the top, they'll be looking to reward their fans with a win.
The result of Oman's previous match pushed the Dutch in the pole position to take the series whereas it left Oman out of the running. Oman did reasonably well with the bat against the men in Orange but failed to contain Dutch batsmen as the match finished with more than an over to spare.
Oman were put into bat by the Dutch and got off to a rather sedate start. They could score only 46 runs off their first 10 overs which proved to be the difference between a win and a loss. Jatinder Singh was slow to get off the blocks but found his touch towards the back-end of the innings. Together with Khurram Nawaz, he propelled Oman to a total of 166, as they scored 120 runs in the final ten overs.
Oman needed to pick wickets to have any chance of pulling off a victory on a batting beauty. Sandeep Goud was their only successful bowlers as he picked up two important wickets, but conceded 36 runs off his four overs. They lacked accuracy and adherence to the plan as the Netherlands cruised to the total with eight wickets in hand.
Naseem Khushi, Jatinder Singh, Mehran Khan, Khurram Nawaz, Sufyan Mehmood, Sandeep Goud, Ajay Lalcheta, Mohammad Nadeem, Fayyaz Butt, Bilal Khan, Wasim Ali.
Scotland bounced back strongly after facing a defeat in the first match of the series as they chased down a tall total against Ireland in the subsequent encounter. It was only their second T20I victory over a full member which speaks volumes about the significance of the victory for the team.
Bowling first on a batting paradise, Scotland didn't get off to the start they were looking for. Paul Stirling and Kevin O' Brien each scored half-centuries as Scottish bowlers struggled to pick up a wicket for the first 115 runs. The introduction of Watt turned things around for Scotland with Leask, Berrington and Watt triggered the Irish collapse.
181 by no means was an easy total to overhaul. However, Kyle Coetzer and George Munsey batted splendidly for the first wicket as they not only kept wickets intact but also scored quickly to take pressure off the batsmen coming in. Their win was set up by Kyle Coetzer who scored 74 off just 38 deliveries although he was helped by three misses in the field. Calum Macleod and Craig Wallace eventually got them home after Berrington and Cross were dismissed in quick succession.
George Munsey, Kyle Coetzer, Calum MacLeod, Richie Berrington, Matthew Cross, Craig Wallace, Michael Leask, Adrian Neill, Safyaan Sharif, Alasdair Evans, MRJ Watt.
We are down to the last match of the series which has arguably been one of the shortest quadrangular series in the history of T20I cricket. Depending upon how Ireland does in the other game of the day, Scotland will have a chance to finish at the top of the table. Oman have played well in the series so far, but have found them finish second-best twice on two occasions. With batting in fine form and confidence gained from beating a full member, Scotland are firm favorites to win the upcoming encounter.