Muscat, The Gulf Observer: Oman cricket team’s remarkable achievement in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier Final stirred the enthusiasm of many, drawing fans, families, Oman Cricket board members, and officials from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth to Muscat International Airport well past midnight on Monday. They were there to greet the champions of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier Final.
In a thrilling final match held at the TU ground in Kirtipur on Sunday, Oman triumphed over the host nation, Nepal, in a super over, winning the T20 World Cup 2024 qualifier with a perfect record in front of nearly 35,000 local fans.
The title victory, along with securing qualification for the T20 World Cup for the third time under the leadership of head coach Duleep Mendis, ignited a strong sense of national pride and jubilation. This was evident on Monday night when the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Youth organised a reception for the national heroes at the VIP lounge, a space typically reserved for foreign dignitaries.
Leading the welcome party at the airport was Hisham Al Sinani, the director-general at the sports ministry, along with Oman Cricket (OC) vice-chairman Paul Sheridan, OC secretary Madhu Jesrani, OC treasurer Alkesh Joshi, OC board members Kiran Asher and Syed Anwar Ahsan, along with numerous fans and family members.
Mendis, the legendary Sri Lankan cricketer, expressed his immense satisfaction and pride upon his arrival at the airport.
He said, “This is a monumental achievement. Qualifying for the T20 World Cup with an undefeated record in such a highly competitive qualifier fills me with joy. The players poured their hearts into the games, and defeating the host nation Nepal, not once but twice, in front of a cheering crowd of nearly 30,000-40,000 locals, underscores the tremendous progress Oman Cricket has made over the years under the adept leadership of H.E. Pankaj Khimji, the Oman Cricket chairman.”
Mendis has led Oman to all three T20 World Cups, an achievement that only a few coaches can boast of. He previously steered the Men in Red to their maiden T20 World Cup win in 2016 in India and repeated the feat in 2021 when Oman co-hosted the event with the UAE.
Oman’s captain, Zeeshan Maqsood, who currently holds the World No.7 spot in the ICC ODI all-rounders list, shared his happiness at their qualification and the remarkable unbeaten journey to claim the trophy. He commended his exceptional team, which secured victories over Nepal, all in front of an appreciative crowd numbering in the thousands.