MUSCAT: Canada stamped their overall superiority to lift the 2022 Desert Cup T20I Series with an emphatic eight-wicket win over hosts Oman in the final at the Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) grounds on Monday.
Except for one defeat at the hands of Bahrain in the group stage, Canada’s dominating display in the four-nation tournament culminated in the title win.
Opting to field first, Canada’s decision proved to be the correct one as Oman lost opener Jatinder Singh early and were soon down to 17/3 in five overs with Jeremy Gordon’s double strike off successive balls dismissing Kashyap Prajapati and in-form skipper Zeeshan Maqsood.
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Canada bowlers were on top as Oman were tottering at 23/4 in the seventh over. Mohammed Nadeem and Ayaan Khan tried to stem the rot but Nikhil Dutta broke the stand to leave the hosts at 50/5. The procession of Oman batters continued and with just over five overs to go, they were 74/8.
It was a blistering counter-attack by wicketkeeper-batter Naseem Khushi that aided Oman cross the 100-mark as he stayed unbeaten with a gutsy 47 off 23 balls that included two boundaries and five sixes.
Gordon’s 3/36 was the best figures while Dilon Heyliger took 2/29.
With Canada restricting Oman to 137, the favourites, who had won their previous match against the hosts narrowly on Sunday with a ball to spare, began their chase on a rousing note as Aaron Johnson, who finished at the tournament’s top run-scorer with 402 runs, and his opening partner, Srimantha Wijeyeratne, sent the Oman bowlers on a leather hunt.
The two hammered the rival attack to all parts of the park in a sizzling 124-run stand in 12 overs to secure the game.
Johnson, who had earlier hammered a century in the tournament, was finally out for a 41-ball 68. His inning was studded with eight fours and four maximums. Besides Johnson, the only other centurion in the tournament was Oman captain Zeeshan Maqsood.
Wijeyeratne remained unbeaten on a solid 51 off 35 balls as Canada achieved the target in 14 overs, scoring 139/2.
In a third-place playoff match, Saudi Arabia defeated Bahrain by 32 runs to record their second successive win in two days over the same rivals.
Batting first, Saudi Arabia rode on Saad Khan’s 69 to reach 155/8. Imran Javed of Bahrain was the pick of the bowlers with 4/24. Saudis then restricted their opposition to 123/5 with Ahmer Bin Nasir staying unbeaten on 55.
Canada’s players dominated the individual awards as Johnson was the best batter while Ammar Khalid was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 12 wickets.
Later, Oman Cricket (OC) chairman Pankaj Khimji presented the winner’s trophy to Canada skipper Saad Zafar. Also present were OC vice-chairman Paul Sheridan, OC chief development officer Duleep Mendis, other board officials and a large number of fans.
Oman and Canada will now play a two-match 50-over series on November 25-26.