The matches of Group B of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 came to an end. We have two out of the four teams that advanced to thee Super 12 stages. Scotland, who unsettled the Bangladesh, remained unbeaten and topped the group. Bangladesh too edged past the Oman and Papua New Guinea challenge to advance to the next stage. It was a heart-breaking exit for co-host Oman, who came exceedingly close in their game against Bangladesh. In the end, it was Bangladesh and Scotland who booked their Super 12 berths and awaits the next set of challenges.
Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer has been integral to defining the team’s positive playing style and culture over the past few years. However, he had a quiet start to the tournament, making just 0 and 6 in the first two games. In this must-win match against Oman, chasing a modest but tricky target of 123, he took the responsibility on himself to knock off the runs. Having overcome an issue with his arm, he was initially circumspect as fellow-opener George Munsey led the charge.
George Munsey laid the foundation of the chase :
Once Munsey fell, he took over, muscling sixes into the stands in back-to-back overs. The biggest of those was 93m. He fell short of a fifty, but not before adding a crucial 41 off 28 balls. Oman opener Jatinder Singh has enjoyed his time at this T20 World Cup. He made an unbeaten 73 in the first game with 40 last time against Bangladesh. However, in this crucial match against Scotland, he faced just one ball and was out for a duck. This was the result of a mix-up in the middle. On the second ball of the match, he nudged to mid-on and set off for a single. However, his partner Aaqib Ilyas, having initially set off, quickly turned back. This lead to a situation where both batters found themselves at the same end.
Bangladesh and Scotland booked their Super 12 berths after convincing wins in their last matches of the group stage :
The fielder Mark Watt threw the ball to the wicketkeeper. Wicketkeeper Matt Cross had all the time to complete the run-out. Even a few months ago, the Oman Cricket Academy Grounds weren’t the lush green facilities that hosted Group B of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. But thanks to the efforts of the national association and the authorities, and their passion for cricket, the squads of Bangladesh, Scotland, PNG and Oman were met with excellent facilities and welcoming fans at Al Amerat. The visiting teams have had nothing but praise for the facilities. Although the home side stumbled in the final match of the tournament at the venue, it was a week to remember for the local fans and the players.
PNG were extraordinary in the field with their catching and made it look easy doing it. In fact, all seven Bangladesh wickets that fell on the day were out caught. Sese Bau set the tone in just the second ball of the innings. He took a terrific catch tumbling back at deep square to dismiss Mohammad Naim for a duck. Damien Ravu was not going to be left far behind with his well-judged catch at the end of the innings to remove Afif Hossain. But it was the catch by Charles Amini to send Shakib Al Hasan back to the hut four short of his fifty that was the best of the innings. Stationed at long-on, Amini had to bolt to his right before lunging forward to catch the ball barely inches off the ground.
Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea were electrifying in the field :
While defending, Bangladesh were themselves impressive on the field. Wicketkeeper Nurul Hossain grabbed a one-handed stunner down the leg. Mohammad Naim too took a spectacular diving catch just inside the boundary to dismiss Amini. After a sluggish 22-ball 23 in the loss against Scotland and quick innings against Oman, Mahmudullah saved the best for when the team needed it the most. He walked in at a time when Bangladesh were struggling to score big. A six off just his fourth ball set the pace for the rest of the Bangladesh innings. He also ensured that Shakib’s wicket did not derail the momentum. He changed the course of the innings in the 16th over. There, he smashed Chad Soper for two sixes and a four en-route his fifty. This over set the platform for the rest of the batters to go big in the death overs.
Bangladesh were under tremendous pressure after losing the first game against Scotland. They could have been eliminated had they lost against Oman in their second game, or to PNG in their third. So, in a must-win situation, the Tigers showed why they are ranked sixth in the world. In the first innings, the under-fire batting bounced back in the second half of the innings. PNG though did well to stifle them in the opening exchange. The usual suspects, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, put their hands up when it looked like PNG were taking control of the game. Then, in the second innings, Bangladesh truly showed their class. They skittled PNG out for just 97 to book a place in the Super 12.