Oman pulled off a stunning two-wicket victory against usual giant-killers Ireland with two balls to spare in their opening fixture of the ICC World T20 qualifiers at Dharamsala on Wednesday.
Lower middle-order batsman Amir Ali's quickfire 17-ball 32 was instrumental in setting up the historic win, as Oman got off to a winning start in their campaign, gaining two valuable points in the process.
Ireland made 154/5 after opting to bat, thanks to William Porterfield (29), Paul Stirling (29) and Gary Wilson (38). Right-arm medium pacer Munis Ansari picked up three wickets for Oman.
While chasing, Oman got off to a very strong start with a 69-run opening wicket stand between Zeeshan Maqsood (38) and Khawar Ali (34).
But Ireland hit back with regular strikes and Oman's middle order failed, thanks to Kevin O'Brien (2/25), Andy McBrine (2/15) and Max Sorensen (2/29).
However, Ali's quickfire knock of 32 from just 17 balls not only lifted Oman's spirits but also saw them home, with two wickets and two deliveries to spare.
The match drew a variety of reactions from various quarters of the social media, with some of the best posts on microblogging website Twitter being featured below.
Ravichandran Ashwin was among those who were watching the match closely, commenting on spinner Ajay Lalcheta, who has an interestingly similar pause in bowling run-up.
Lalcheta takes stock of the situation and delivers.Great T 20 bowling.Absolute Gold. #IREvOMA
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) March 9, 2016
When Harsha Bhogle chose this match over Australia vs South Africa.
Sport is all about context. Never thought I would be watching Oman vs Ireland over Australia vs South Africa.......
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 9, 2016
Zeeshan Maqsood's stunning catch at short-cover was perhaps the most widely-talked about moment, along with Amir Ali's winning knock. Cricketer-turned-commentator Isa Guha couldn't help express her amazement.
Take a bow Maqsood! #IREvOMA
— Isa Guha (@isaguha) March 9, 2016
Members of the Irish women's team were screaming their lungs out for the men's team.
— Isobel Joyce (@izzyjoyce) March 9, 2016
The statisticians had a few interesting facts to produce as well.
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) March 9, 2016
Last but not the least, the tongue-in-cheek responses would follow.
— Atulmaharaj (@Atulmaharaj) March 10, 2016
Yesterday was Women's Day. Today is Oman's Day.
— Diogenes (@diogeneb) March 9, 2016
And then you wonder why they have Irish jokes#IREvOMA
— Gaurav Sethi (@BoredCricket) March 9, 2016
Oman and Bangladesh are currently on top of Group A with their wins over Ireland and Netherlands respectively. Ireland, who have beaten the best of teams in the past, will have a lot on their plate if they are to face the bigger teams in the latter stages of the tournament.
First Published On : Mar 10, 2016 14:00 IST