DUBAI // The Omani captain Mohammed Aslam says his side's comfortable nine-wicket victory over Kuwait last night was "perfect preparation" ahead of this evening's inaugural Twenty20 Gulf Cup final at Dubal Cricket Stadium in Jebel Ali. The devastating duo Monsin Gul Baig and Nadil Yusef helped Oman chase down the paltry 69-run target set by their Middle East neighbours as the victors sealed success with 99 balls to spare. Each of the four teams competing in this week's tournament, which also features the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are made up entirely of nationals, rather than resident expatriates.
"I am very happy with my team," said Aslam, who took three wickets from as many overs and conceded only three runs. "We have the final now to look forward to and we are confident. "I am not really surprised that we won with such ease. [Sunday's match with the UAE] was tougher, but this was a straightforward game for us. Kuwait are obviously very inexperienced, but they will get better the more they play. This match, for us, was perfect preparation for [today's] game."
Kuwait won the toss and elected to bat, but openers Mahmoud Bastaki and Jasin Isa both left without scoring. Bastaki was caught by Sherif Pindooki off Shah Jehan, while Isa was run out by Abbas. The Kuwaiti captain Taher Bastaki scored 16 runs from 32 balls, including one boundary. The last man who was bowled, Faisal Bazooki, caught by Samir Mahreb off Aslam, made one from eight balls. Oman, in replying, chased down their target in just 3.5 overs. Khalid Moussa was caught by Fahad Dos-ari off Mohammed Akil for 25 off eight balls before Gul Baig (22) and Yusef (14) reached the target without losing any further wickets.
While it was a solid display from the Omanis, Kuwait's performance is sure to strengthen the Asian Cricket Council's belief that Middle Eastern countries should be wary of competing in next year's Asian Games, where they could face Pakistan and India. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org