Oman's victory is the stuff dreams are made of © AFP
Oman’s victory is the stuff dreams are made of © AFP

Oman, a side comprising mostly of unfit amateurs, pulled off the first major upset of ICC World T20 2016 when they overcame a respectable Ireland side at Dharamshala. Ireland are a team with a batsman who has scored the fastest-ever century in 50-over World Cup history. They have a bowler who has played Test cricket for England. They have a bunch of players who have defeated Bangladesh, Pakistan, England, and West Indies in World Cup. Players like William Porterfield, Paul Stirling, Gary Wilson, Niall O’Brien, Kevin O’Brien, Max Sorensen, Tim Murtagh, and Boyd Rankin are vastly experienced. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Ireland vs Oman, ICC World T20 2016, Group A Round 1, Match 5 at Dharamsala

On the other hand, Oman were spearheaded by a bowler named Munis Ansari, who took 3 for 37 in his 4 overs. Ansari has a slingy bowling action reminiscent of Lasith Malinga and Fidel Edwards, albeit 20 kph slower than either man. The man who opened bowling, Ajay Lalcheta, is a left-arm spinner who bowls so slowly that Ravindra Jadeja can finish an over in the time it takes him to bowl two balls. His first 8 balls were dots, and he ended up with figures of 4-1-24-0. READ: Oman shock Ireland with 2-wicket win in Group A Round 1, Match 4 in ICC world T20 2016

Still, once Ireland got to 154 for 5, it seemed like it would be a matter of time before Oman’s inexperience would lead to an inevitable choke. It seemed Ireland thought this way as well, so they would not have been unduly worried when Oman openers Zeeshan Maqsood started the chase with two boundaries off Tim Murtagh. They would not have panicked when he hit no less a bowler than Rankin for three boundaries in the third over. Once Khawar Ali started joining in the punishment, Ireland’s calm demeanour began to change. READ: Oman team in ICC T20 World Cup 2016, Preview: Unknown yet ‘fearless’ Oman reach the big stage

By the time Kevin O’Brien came on to bowl the ninth over, Oman were 59 without loss. Two balls later they were 69 for no loss. Then Khawar was bowled for 34. In Kevin’s next over he had Maqsood out bowled for 38 as well. Oman were now 78 for 2. A few overs later they were 90 for 5. It was around this point that it seemed like the match was, for all intents and purposes, over and done with. There had been a brief flash in the pan from Oman, but it was just that and nothing more. READ: Oman cricket: 5 players to watch out for

Then out walked Aamer Ali, a slightly portly, slightly balding, bespectacled man who looked like he would be at home in a chemistry lab. He looked like he had no business being on a cricket field; this is not how an athlete representing his country in a World Cup ought to look. Yet Aamer hit a 17-ball 32 that included 5 fours and a six. It was an innings that decided the match and won him the Man of the Match award. By the time he was dismissed in the final over, Oman had done enough to sneak through with 2 wickets and 2 balls in hand.

Oman, a team of rag-tag semi-amateurs had slain the legendary giant-killers of World Cricket, Ireland. As far as fairy tales go, this was David beating an older, more experienced David at his own game. You can bet some of the Goliaths will be wary now. What a win for Oman, and for associate teams!

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is an animal lover and comic, film and TV geek. A fast bowler at heart, he enjoys watching a good, low-scoring game of cricket. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)