World Cup Qualifiers 2023: Oman’s Aqib Ilyas happy to be ‘back with a bang’ after fighting bone tumour

By India Today Sports Desk: Oman batter Aqib Ilyas went down the memory lane to the time when he was out of cricket for 15 months due to a bone tumour. The 30-year-old is currently taking part in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2023 in Zimbabwe and played a brilliant knock on Monday against Andrew Balbirnie’s Ireland.

Although it was Zeeshan Maqsood who won the Player of the Match award for his 59-run knock, Ilyas grabbed the limelight by scoring 52 off 49 balls with eight fours.

On the back of his knock, Ireland chased down 282 and defeated favourites Ireland by five wickets at the Bulawayo Athletic Club.

“It is a part of life. I was giving top performances and my average was 58. I was also doing well with the ball, but suddenly I got to know that I had a bone issue and I was out of cricket for 15 months,” Ilyas said after the match.

“When I came to the field, I mis-fielded once or twice, but a blush came on my face thinking that ‘You are enjoying the moment when there was a time you were out of this beautiful game and now you are back with a bang, and performing’. When I was out, I realised that this game is a blessing for me,” he stated.

Ilyas has been among the standout batters for Oman in the 50-over format. The right-hander has scored 864 runs from 19 matches at an average of 57.60 and a strike-rate of 81.74 with two hundreds and six fifties.

Morale-booster for us

Ilyas was also delighted after Oman were able to beat a Test-playing nation (Ireland) in their very first match of the World Cup Qualifiers.

“It is the best feeling playing the first game against a Test-playing nation and winning convincingly. It is a morale-booster for us getting into the tournament and beating the best team,” Ilyas added.

Oman will next face the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their second Group B match on Wednesday, January 21.

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