|Twenty20 international series, Al Amarat, Oman:|
|Oman 172-9 (20 overs): A Kaleem 46; Thompson 2-21, Adair 2-28|
|Ireland 130 (16.2 overs): O’Brien 39; M Nadeem 3-14|
|Oman won by 43 runs|
Ireland lost by 43 runs to hosts Oman in their second match of the Twenty20 pentangular tournament in Muscat.
Oman made 172-9 off their 20 overs, Aamir Kaleem top-scoring with 46 and Stuart Thompson and Mark Adair taking two wickets apiece.
Ireland were all out for 130 off 16.2 overs in reply, Kevin O’Brien scoring 39 and Mohammad Nadeem ending with bowling figures of 3-14.
Oman top the table with two wins from two, with Ireland in second place.
Ireland beat the Netherlands by six wickets in their series opener on Saturday.
Ireland are using the tournament as a warm-up for the upcoming T20 World Cup qualifiers from 18-26 October in UAE.
Graham Ford’s Irish team play Hong Kong on Monday and Nepal on Wednesday in their remaining fixtures.
When they travel on to Abu Dhabi, Ireland will face Hong Kong, UAE, Oman, Canada, Jersey and Nigeria in a bid to make the World Cup finals in Australia in 2020.
Fourth-wicket partnership proves crucial
Ireland captain Gary Wilson won the toss and chose to bowl first, with only one change made from Saturday’s winning side – Boyd Rankin rested and Thompson coming in.
The home side started poorly losing opener Khawar Ali for a duck from the third ball. Despite some big hitting from Aqib Ilyas (21) and more patient batting from Jatinder Singh (40), further early wickets fell and Oman were 42-3 in the seventh over.
An 83-run fourth-wicket partnership between Singh and Kaleem allowed Oman to build a defendable total, but late wickets restricted their batters and they finished on 173-9 from their 20 overs – with the 14 runs from the final four balls of the innings giving their final score a late boost.
Ireland’s response started confidently, despite the early loss of Paul Stirling (4). Kevin O’Brien’s 39 from 16 balls was looking to take the game away early from Oman, supported by Andy Balbirnie’s 19 from 13 balls.
A rash of wickets saw Ireland stumble from 54-1 to 109-8 by the end of the 13th over.
Much of the damage was done by Mohammad Nadeem who grabbed 3-14 from four overs through the middle overs, putting the brakes on any Irish thoughts of a late charge.
A late innings of 18 from Adair only served to put respectability in his side’s score, and when the final wicket fell, Ireland were 43 runs short of Oman.