Oman all-rounder Aaqib Ilyas hopes to make a strong impact on his comeback to the ODI squad for the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup Qualifier 2023. He expressed that he is confident of doing well for the team, to secure a place in the ICC Men’s World Cup. Oman will kick off their campaign in qualifiers against Ireland on Monday, June 19 in Bulawayo.
Aaqib Ilyas made his ODI debut for Oman in 2019 and has scored 812 runs at an average of 58, and has 20 wickets in the format. In February 2020, he became the first player from his country to score an ODI century. He slammed 109 runs against Nepal before backing it up two days later with a second ton against the USA. However, due to injuries, he couldn’t play ODIs consistently.
Ahead of the ICC ODI World Cup Qualifiers, Aaqib Ilyas expressed that he has to continue performing well for Oman in the format. Speaking to ICC, he said.
“As a batter, I have to score runs. Having an average of almost 60 in the last 17 or 18 games is great but that is in the past now and I have to score again. Hopefully, I will get that confidence and if I get runs in the tournament then we have to believe we can win against anyone. It is the same for my bowling, as I am now taking wickets too.”
“We know though that giving our best will take us to a big tournament and the big stage. As a team, we believe we have a good chance because we have some good players in the side – Zeeshan Maqsood, Jatinder Singh and then myself coming into the team. We will give everything we have to qualify for the top six and then for the top two,” he added.
We are feeling good for the qualifiers: Aqib Ilyas
Oman is in Group B with the likes of Ireland, Scotland, UAE and Sri Lanka. They have to finish in the top three of the tournament to advance to Super Six. From the Super Six, only two teams will qualify for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. Oman vice-captain Aaqib Ilyas believes that the team can draw confidence from their previous encounters against the teams. He expressed that they have prepared well for the Qualifiers.
“We have played all of these teams before. We did not play an ODI series with Sri Lanka, but we played some 50-over games against them and we won a game and we lost a game. It was really good because we now have an idea of playing them and we have faced the same bowlers. The good thing is we have played against each other a lot of times and we know how to prepare, there are many slight margins where we lost to them, so we can come up with more positives,” said Aaquib Ilyas.
“We are feeling good for the qualifiers, we are practicing well, there are some great coaches here and the new guys coming in did really well in the Asia Cup qualifiers. They scored really well, the top order clicked and all the bowlers did really well too,” he added.
Oman took on Zimbabwe in their first warm-up match of the ICC ODI World Cup Qualifiers. They nearly chased down a mammoth score of 376 runs. Aaqib Ilyas slammed 115 runs, while Ayaan Khan scored 91. Oman fell short of the target by 28 runs.