UAE captain Rohan Mustafa hails stunning victory over Zimbabwe

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Mohammad Naveed

Captain Rohan Mustafa hailed a “great achievement” as the UAE ruined Zimbabwe’s World Cup qualification hopes with their first major victory over a Full Member team.

With five points, Zimbabwe needed a victory over either West Indies or UAE to reach the World Cup in England and Wales next year.

But they lost both games, and now only a miraculous low-scoring tie between Ireland and Afghanistan on Friday will see them through. Their World Cup dreams are effectively over – for the UAE, however, it was a stunning triumph.

“A great achievement for the UAE team, because we have never won against a Test nation team,” said Mustafa. “So it’s a great achievement, and it shows the world that UAE, and the other Associate countries, are getting better.

Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer rued his team’s missed opportunities.

“It’s very painful,” Cremer said of Zimbabwe’s defeat. “We had two bites at getting to the final, and we’ve stumbled at the last hurdle.”

He added: “We were so hungry (to win).

“The ball was in our court, we just needed to turn up today and play some of our best cricket, then it might have been a different story. The guys are shattered in the change room. I’m sure most Zimbabweans are.”

Lunchtime rain interrupted the end of UAE’s innings at 235-7, and meant that Zimbabwe faced a revised target of 230 in 40 overs on the DLS method.

They lost early wickets but were restored by counter-attacking innings from Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza. Williams scored 80 in quick time, while Raza cracked 34 from 26 deliveries, but both fell with victory almost in sight, allowing UAE to surge to victory.

“We gave them a few too many, and then to only have 40 overs with the bat, that cost us a bit,” said Cremer.

“We’d still back ourselves to chase 230 in 40 overs, but a poor start again. We keep losing wickets in that first power play, which has probably cost us.”

“When Raza got out, that was crucial for us. Because he could have won that game with a couple of overs to spare, the way he was batting. When Sean got out, that was another big moment in the game.”

The match was watched by around 10,000 spectators, with Harare Sports Club filled to capacity. They cheered Zimbabwe to the last, but were ultimately left disappointed.

“The fans have been excellent, from Bulawayo to here, and another great turnout today,” said Cremer.

“They’ll probably be more disappointed than anyone, because they’ve turned out and at least expected us to win one of these two games to qualify. So there was big expectation on us. We’re really sad that we couldn’t give them what they wanted.”

The West Indies, who edged Scotland by five runs in another rain-hit match on Wednesday, had already secured the first qualifying spot from the tournament.

On Friday, Afghanistan and Ireland will meet at the same Harare Sports Club venue with the winner guaranteed a place in the 2019 finals.

The match will be Niall O’Brien’s 100th ODI for Ireland while Rashid Khan will be looking to claim four wickets to become the quickest bowler to 100 wickets in the 50-over format.

Provided by AFP Sport 

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There has been plenty of tension in the build-up to the third Test

South Africa are taking on Australia in the third Test in Cape Town.

The series is perfectly poised at 1-1 following a 118-run victory for Australia in the first Test, and a six-wicket win for South Africa in the second.

South Africa won the toss, and elected to bat.

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England collapsed due to New Zealand's brilliant display.

A destructive six-wicket haul by Trent Boult left England in tatters during a first innings that lasted just 20.4 overs in the opening session of the first Test in Auckland on Thursday.

At 23 for 8, England threatened New Zealand’s most unwanted record of the lowest ever Test score, 26, before they recovered to be all out for 58.

At 27 for 9, England’s lowest Test innings of 45 — against Australia in 1887 — was also in jeopardy.

But Craig Overton lashed out at the end to finish unbeaten on 33 to lift England to their sixth lowest total in Test cricket history.

Boult cleaned out the top order and had figures of five for nine after his first seven overs before finishing with six for 32.

His new-ball partner Tim Southee took four wickets for 25.

The pitch for the first day-night Test in New Zealand has a slight green tinge, but not enough to concern the batsmen.

Instead they were undone by precision swing and seam bowling that started in the fifth over when Alastair Cook prodded at a full-length Boult delivery that moved away and was caught at second slip by Tom Latham for five.

It started a steady flow of batsmen going to and from the crease.

Captain Joe Root, batting at number three to allow for the inclusion of Overton as an extra bowler, lasted six balls before he was bowled by Boult for a duck.

Boult also accounted for Dawid Malan for two, Ben Stokes — who faced eight deliveries on his return to Test cricket — for a duck, Chris Woakes (5) and James Anderson (1).

Southee ensured the carnage continued with the wickets of Mark Stoneman when on 11, plus Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad who were each dismissed without scoring.

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