UAE captain Rohan Mustafa wants two-day games

Denzil Pinto 10/04/2017
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Shaiman Anwar (pictured here against Ireland) hit the winning runs for UAE.

UAE captain Rohan Mustafa has urged Emirates Cricket Board to introduce domestic two-day matches after hailing his team’s “complete all-round” performance in their nine-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea in the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

Set a target of 40 following Lega Siaka’s maiden first-class century which saw PNG, who resumed on 152-4, all out for 268, it was left to veteran Shaiman Anwar (32no) to finish the game in style with a boundary at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

It was the national team’s maiden win in this season’s competition after three defeats and a draw and first in the four-day format since their nine-wicket triumph over Namibia in September 2013.

The UAE have often struggled in the longer format in the previous outings but this time their players played to their potential from day one. Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Mohammed Naveed and Qadeer Ahmed all took wickets while there were maiden international tons for Mohammed Usman (103) and Saqlain Haider (102).

And Mustafa was thrilled by his team’s display, saying every single player can hold their heads high.

“I have to give credit to the guys,” said the 28-year-old batsman, who scored an unbeaten six in the final innings. “It was a all-round team performance. The centuries from Saqlain and Usman were crucial as we lost some wickets and that helped us post a competitive total. I think the bowlers bowled superbly on a flat wicket.”

The result sees them move up to seventh in the eight-team standings on 27 points with two more fixtures scheduled against Namibia and Afghanistan later this year.

While Mustafa insists they can be encouraged by their latest display, he feels the cricketing authorities must do more in organising two-day matches which is not played in the domestic circuit.

“Just because we won this game, doesn’t mean we will continue winning all the games,” he said. “We should get support and get the opportunity to play two-day games in the domestic competitions.

“If you see the likes of Afghanistan, Scotland and Ireland they all play the longer format very good. Why they improve is because they get the opportunity to play the longer format.

“We don’t play that format so that’s the reason on why we are so far behind. We need support and let’s hope for the best. And hopefully there will be a chance for two-game games to be introduced in giving us the opportunity of playing strongly in more four-day games.”

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