UAE captain Rohan Mustafa wants batsmen to step up and seal series win

Denzil Pinto 18/07/2017
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Rohan Mustafa

UAE captain Rohan Mustafa hopes to see an improvement from the top-order batsmen as they aim to clinch a series victory over the Netherlands on Wednesday.

The UAE go into the game in Amstelveen on the back of Monday’s three-wicket triumph and can clinch the three-match series with another same result.

In their first encounter, middle-order batsman Mohammed Usman was the star man with his unbeaten 57 ensuring Amjad Javed’s and Mustafa’s three-wicket hauls did not go to waste.

Of the top-four batsmen, Mustafa scored the most with 34, while Mohammed Qasim (8), Ghulam Shabbir (23) and Shaiman Anwar (11) struggled at the crease.

Mustafa accepts the wicket may have played a part in their batting performance but he hopes the top-order including himself can play big roles in today’s clash.

“I will not blame them because the wicket was a bit tricky but we have to expect more from them,” he said. “We have to have a good start and I’m expecting a much better performance than that.

“We have batsmen who can score big runs like Mohammed Usman, who can hit sixes and fours. So the plan would be to be there until the 30th over with just loss of two or three wickets because we have those kind of batsmen who can take the total even higher later in the
innings.”

He added: “But I can’t take nothing away from the guys on Monday. It was a good performance from the whole team and it was a good job from the bowlers in restricting them to 182.

While the momentum will be with the UAE, Mustafa is fully aware that his team will be ready for whatever is thrown against them by the Dutch, who sit top of the World Cricket League Championship in this format.

“They will come hard at us and we are expecting that,” he said. “It will be a good match and we are expecting a quick wicket because Monday’s game the wicket was a bit uneven.

“We will be definitely concentrated come the game and Inshallah we can go out there and win the series with a match to spare.”

For Dougie Brown, it was his first win as head coach, having won eight games as interim.

The 47-year-old says there’s still areas of improvement. “Throughout the course of the day, we played some good cricket and there are some areas that we have to improve on in the second game,” said the ex-Warwickshire boss.

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Amjad Javed and Rohan Mustafa take three wickets each as UAE beat Netherlands

Denzil Pinto 18/07/2017
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Amjad Javed

The UAE could not have asked for a better start to their series against the Netherlands with Rohan Mustafa and Amjad Javed taking three wickets each to clinch a three-wicket victory yesterday.

All-rounders Mustafa, 28, and Javed, 37, used all their experience  and skill with the ball to rattle the Dutch batsmen at the VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen.

Javed was the stand-out bowler with figures of 3-33, taking all of his scalps in nine deliveries, while skipper Mustafa finished with 3-41 as the Dutch were restricted to 182-8 in their 50-overs.

With a respectable target to reach, the tourists would’ve fancied their chances of chasing that score and they did exactly that, sealing the win in the 49th over with six balls to spare.

Middle-order batsman Mohammed Usman led the way with the bat, scoring an unbeaten half-century of 57 runs from 80 balls.

The result continued the UAE’s recent resurgence with their latest win being their ninth under head coach Dougie Brown since he was in charge as interim from February.

Prior to the game, Brown played down suggestions of his team being the favourites for the series and was fully wary of the Netherlands, who sit top of the World Cricket League Championship in this format.

Although they didn’t get any warm-up matches after arriving in the Dutch capital last week, it didn’t seem to have an effect on his team.

Elected to bat first after winning the toss, the Netherlands got off to a shaky start with their top-order failing to click.

Javed removed three of their batsmen including experienced opener Stephan Myburgh (27), international debutant Asad Zulfiqar (15) and Ben Cooper (4).

Mustafa got into the act soon after, dismissing his opposite number Peter Borren (56), Saqib Zulfiqar (11) and Shane Snater (3).

There were also wickets for Qadeer Ahmed (1-34) and Mohammed Naveed (1-33).

For the UAE batsmen, Mustafa (34), wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabbir (23) and Rameez Shahzad (29) all played key roles while Netherlands’ Paul van Meekeren’s three wickets went in vein.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow before the series comes to a conclusion on Thursday.

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UAE head coach Dougie Brown wants team effort to beat Netherlands

Denzil Pinto 16/07/2017
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UAE head coach Dougie Brown has urged his players to“play at the top of their game as a team” and adjust to conditions quickly if they want to seal a series win against the Netherlands.

The two nations meet on Monday in the first of the three-match 50-over series in Amsterdam with the tourists looking to continue their good form under Brown.

Under his helm as interim, the team won eight of 12 matches but face a stern test to add to that record with the Dutch sitting top of the 50-over World Cricket League Championship.

The UAE arrived on Wednesday and although heavy rain washed out practice for one day, Brown is hopeful his troops can “hit the ground running”. “We have to be flexible and make adjustments quickly,” said the 47-year-old.

“We have not played a match in these conditions but we have practised although that is different to playing. Time hasn’t allowed us to get much match practice under our belt so we’re going to have to make adjustments quickly.

“We have to be competitive in these conditions as practice is completely different to what you’re faced in match situations.”

The Dutch come into the game on the back of a 2-1 home series loss to Zimbabwe in this format but Brown is  fully aware of the threats posed by the hosts.

“We are coming into someone else’s conditions and that will be a challenge,” he said. “But it’s a challenge that we are prepared for and I see it as an opportunity. We’re definitely not favourites. The Dutch are playing really good cricket. We know if we want to compete with them, we have to play at the top of our game as a team to win the series.”

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