Rapid Jatinder Singh century powers Oman past Nepal

Sandeep Lamichhane injury adds to away side's woes in World Cup League Two

While construction work on the national cricket ground continues apace ahead of the arrival of the T20 World Cup, Oman’s team are doing their best to prove they are ready to go already.

The Oman Cricket Academy oval in Al Amerat will host preliminary round matches for the global showpiece in October.

The host team are one of four – along with Bangladesh, Scotland and Papua New Guinea – who will be vying to advance to the competition proper in the UAE.

This might be a different format – part of the qualification process for the next 50-over World Cup, but the team are purring, judged by their comprehensive five-wicket win over Nepal.

Jatinder Singh, for one, will not have to worry overly about switching down to 20 overs.

The Muscat-raised opener blazed 107 in just 62 balls - which is the fastest one-day international ton for Oman - to hurry the home side to a victory which extends their lead at the top of World Cup League Two.

On this form, the expressive opener – who celebrates batting milestones in the same “thigh-five” style as India’s Shikhar Dhawan – could become one of the stars of the T20 World Cup.

“I think the best is yet to come,” Jatinder said, when asked if he had ever played better than this stunning century.

“When you have a small target to chase, teams sometimes relax a bit and think: It’s just a small target, we have ample time to chase it.

“I wanted to think about it the other way round, and just play positively. The moment I was in, I was getting my shots right.”

The game began promisingly enough for Nepal, a day after they had started this tri-series with a win over the United States.

They were at one point 100-2, but capitulated to 196 all out, with Bilal Khan taking four wickets.

Defending it was always going to be a tough task. It was rendered as good as impossible when Sandeep Lamichhane was lost on medical grounds early in Oman’s innings.

The star leg-spinner was treated by the boundary rope by both the Nepal physio and a paramedic, for what appeared to be a stomach ailment.

He was subsequently led away to an ambulance, only to opt to stay and try to recover in the team area instead. By the time Oman sealed the win, his condition was much improved, even if he did not make it back onto the field.

It was the third successive win over Nepal in the tournament, which decides which teams advance to the global qualifier for the next 50-over World Cup.

“It has taken us 18 months to get back to playing competitive cricket,” Jatinder said.

“We have had lots of plans to go to Qatar to play, and we invited UAE to come here, too, and we are really thankful to the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team for coming to play.

“We took a lot of positives from that, which was nice before coming to play this crucial tournament.”

Updated: September 14th 2021, 6:00 PM