The wait is finally over. After five long years, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will kick off on October 17. It will be the Round 1 matches which will be played first and the top two teams from each group will proceed to the Super 12 stage. To begin the competition, Oman and Papua New Guinea are set to go head to head at at the Al Amerat Cricket Ground Oman Cricket (Ministry Turf 1), Oman.
Prior to the tournament opener, here is an attempt to understand which team will have better chances of emerging as the winner of this game based on the following factors:
1. Head to Head record:
This will be the first time that the two teams will be up against each other in T20 cricket. This means that as far as the head-to-head record is concerned, it is set to be a clean slate.
2. Recent form
A look at the recent form would tell that Oman has had a bitter-sweet start to their campaign as far as the build-up to their first Round 1 match is concerned. While they registered a comfortable 32-run win against Namibia in the first warm-up fixture, they succumbed to a narrow 4-run loss to the Netherlands in the second. Prior to that Oman also lost a 2-0 series to Sri Lanka at home.
On the other hand, Papua New Guinea have not tasted a win in recent times. While they lost to Ireland in the first warm-up game, they faced a defeat against Sri Lanka in the second. More importantly, they did not even come close on both occasions. Their last win in this format in an internationally recognised match came in the T20 World Cup qualifiers semifinal against Namibia in November 2019.
3. ICC Rankings
While Papua New Guinea are ranked 15th in the ICC T20I Team Rankings, Oman are ranked 18th. However, there is not too much of a difference between the points as PNG have 179 points in contrast to Oman’s 173.
While the stats hint this could be a tight contest between the two teams, on current form Oman seems to have the upper hand.