Oman stand out in the field to overturn controversy-hit UAE
Oman 109 for 3 (llyas 45*) beat UAE 108 for 9 (Butt 3-16, Khan 3-23) by seven wickets
The absence of three banned players in the wake of an ICC ACU investigation into match-fixing left UAE badly exposed on the opening night of the T20 World Cup Qualifier on home soil as Oman ran roughshod over the depleted hosts, storming to victory by seven wickets.
Oman demonstrated early that they would show little mercy to their shorthanded gulf rivals with some superb fielding leading to three wickets in the Powerplay. The sequence included a direct hit from mid-on by Khurram Nawaz but was highlighted by a brilliant diving catch from Aqib Ilyas at backward point off the fifth ball of the match to dismiss Ashfaq Ahmed and give Bilal Khan the first of his three wickets.
The normally fluent Rameez Shahzad and Rohan Mustafa struggled to pace their innings in the middle overs without the suspended Shaiman Anwar as a buffer, each scoring below a run a ball before they fell after the halfway stage. Shahzad was bowled missing a slog sweep to Khawar Ali's legspin before Mustafa lofted Khan to Aamir Kaleem at long-on.
UAE wheezed their way past 100 before stuttering badly in the final two overs as Khan and Fayyaz Butt excelled at the death. Butt took three wickets in four balls in the 19th with clever use of the slower bouncer. Khan then had Junaid Siddique caught behind in the final over on what may have been a far more contentious decision - replays indicated it was a bump ball but third umpire referrals are not in place for this tournament - had the scoreline been remotely tighter.
The chase became even more comfortable for Oman thanks to some very sloppy fielding by UAE, in contrast to the visitors. Medium pacer Siddique bounced out Khawar for a five-ball duck to start the reply and should have had Jatinder Singh at deep square leg for 2 in the third over, but Waheed Ahmed put down a diving effort coming in from the rope and Jatinder went on to make 16, not much but enough in a low-scoring match.
A much clumsier effort was put down by Ashfaq Ahmed at slip in the 9th over. Kaleem was fresh at the crease after Jatinder's run out by Waheed from deep cover and captain Ahmed Raza supported Mustafa's offspin with a slip in the form of Ashfaq. But he still had his hands on his knees when Kaleem, on 2, edged one that went in between his legs at knee height and carried on for a boundary.
Kaleem made 27 off 19 before he slogged to long-on in the 14th off Raza but by that stage Oman needed just 28 off 39 balls to reach the target. An uncharacteristically sedate Ilyas patiently knocked singles and twos in tandem with captain Zeeshan Maqsood in an unbroken fourth-wicket stand to get Oman across the line with 10 balls to spare as Maqsood ended the match pulling a six off Siddique over square leg.