T20 World Cup: Stoinis shines as Australia cruise past Oman in opener

T20 World Cup: Stoinis shines as Australia cruise past Oman in opener


Stoinis smashed a game-changing 67 not out and then took three wickets for 19 runs

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BRIDGETOWN (Barbados) (AFP) – Marcus Stoinis shone with bat and ball as Australia launched their bid for a grand slam of major cricket titles with a 39-run victory over Oman at the T20 World Cup in Barbados on Wednesday.

Stoinis smashed a game-changing 67 not out off just 36 balls to power Australia to 164-5 and then took three wickets for 19 runs as Oman were restricted to 125-9 in reply at Kensington Oval.

"It was a nice start," player of the match Stoinis said afterwards. "Maybe a few cobwebs for us but we're better for it, and nice that we got the win.

"And nice that I got to spend some time in the middle and have a bit of a bowl."

Stoinis hammered six sixes and two fours during a swashbuckling batting performance that led Australia's recovery after they had slumped to 50-3 earlier in the innings.

David Warner helped provide some stability with a half century as Australia eventually got going after captain Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell fell off successive balls to seamer Mehran Khan in the 11th over.

After a steady couple of overs, Stoinis went on the attack, dominating a 102-run fourth-wicket partnership which effectively wrested the initiative away from the Omanis.

Warner, in his final tournament before international retirement, compiled 56 off 51 balls, including six fours and one six, before falling in the penultimate over.

Warner's innings propelled him beyond former captain Aaron Finch as Australia's top run-getter in T20 Internationals with a tally of 3,155.

Four of Stoinis' six sixes meanwhile came in the 15th over of the innings, bowled by Mehran, and triggered such a pace of acceleration that the 2021 champions were able to more than double their total over the last six overs of the innings.

"Davey (Warner) and I talked about (tactics) before that over," Stoinis added in explaining the sudden batting onslaught. "And then you know how it is when you get the first couple balls away for boundaries, you just think you might as well try to turn it into a big over."

Beaten by Namibia in a thrilling super over finale in their opening game on Sunday, Oman had seemed in the mood for a fight with the early dismissal of Travis Head followed by the Marsh-Maxwell double-blow.

However Australia's competitive know-how saw them through that tricky period as they made a winning start to their campaign to become the first nation to hold all three global cricket titles – Test, One-Day and T20 – simultaneously.

Mitchell Starc, who left the field before the end of his spell with cramp, made his trademark early strike in defence of Australia's total and finished with two wickets, as did fellow pacer Nathan Ellis and leg-spinner Adam Zampa.

Oman captain Aqib Ilyas meanwhile took encouragement from the performance of Oman's bowlers after a solid start.

"Playing against a top side today was a great experience, especially following on from the Super Over last game," Ilyas said. "They played really well, but credit goes to our bowlers. Our bowlers can do really well on turning tracks."