Oman defy the cold as Nepal prove to be the warmest of hosts
Vice-captain Aqib Ilyas bids for clean sweep in Cricket World Cup League Two
The two sets of touring players at the Cricket World Cup League Two triangular series in Nepal have been afforded the warmest welcome possible by the home public.
The weather, however, has been rather cooler. Although the Kathmandu Valley is in the warm temperate zone, meaning it is generally warmer than many other areas of the country, conditions have been fresh for this series.
For most of the matches, temperatures have been maxing out in the mid-teens Celsius.
After their defeat to the host team on Saturday, a number of the United States players attended the post-match presentation with their hoods up to ward off the cold.
Similarly, Oman’s players have often taken to wearing beanies while warming up ahead of the 9.30am start times, with some of their support staff wrapped up in fleeces that do not match the rest of the team issue gear.
Fair to say it is far removed from summer in Muscat. With one match for Oman still to play, Aqib Ilyas might be ruing the decision to throw his sleeveless sweater to the home supporters, after his match-winning performance against Nepal on Sunday.
Oman’s vice-captain says he has been enjoying the conditions the series has been played in, though.
He believes it has helped with the workload of four matches in quick succession. “We come from a country where the temperature can be 48C,” Ilyas said. “It is so hot and you get tired playing back to back games.
“Over here, it is cold, and you don’t sweat a lot. Also, there is a really good atmosphere. The crowd is the thing which gets us pumped up every day. It makes us want to do well all the time.”
Ilyas enjoyed a remarkable individual display in the win over Nepal last time out.
He took four wickets, bowling leg-spin to the right-handers and off-spin to the left-handers.
He then defied injury to score 109 not out as Oman chased 250 to win with eight wickets left.
“We are feeling good, and proud of what we have done,” Zeeshan Maqsood, the Oman captain, said.
Victory was Oman’s third in three matches on tour so far. If they complete a clean sweep by beating United States on Tuesday, they will extend their lead at the top of the CWCL2 table to four points.
That is despite the fact they still have two matches to rearrange – against UAE and Namibia – which were postponed after the death of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said last month.
Oman deposed USA at the top of the table when they beat Nepal. The American side made a fine start to this competition, winning six of their first seven matches, but have now lost their last three.
Updated: February 10, 2020 12:04 PM