There was no repeat of a UAE victory against New Zealand on Saturday but the close defeat gave captain Saqib Nazir plenty of optimism that the men’s team can go far in the Indoor Cricket World Cup.
There was no shortage of support at InSportz Club as more than 150 home fans gathered around Pitch 3 for the second meeting between the two sides in less than a week. The UAE had stunned the six-time runners-up on Monday but couldn’t make it a double on Saturday.
New Zealand, featuring ex-Test player Jesse Ryder, got their revenge by defeating the hosts 125-111 (26-30, 40-20, 23-24, 36-70).
With most rules similar to the outdoor game, each player bowled two overs and batted as a pair for four overs. For each wicket that fell, the batting team lost five points but the batsman could still continue until the allotted four overs (termed as skins) were over.
While New Zealand claimed the three points for the win, they got an extra point for winning the second skin (40-20) with skipper Victor Davies top-scoring with 25. But there was something to celebrate for the UAE, who earned three points for winning three skins (30-26, 24-23, 70-36). Prashath Kumara was the top-scorer with 20 runs with Isuru Umesh taking two wickets.
“Losing is not a good feeling on the inside but we got three skins from a quality side which no one expected. We believe in our abilities and this team will go far I am sure,” said Nazir, who believes the team must improve their bowling.
“With them scoring 125, I wasn’t really surprised of our batting performance. I’m really happy that they believed in themselves and their ability. We always knew we are a quality side and can chase any score.”
Before a ball was even bowled, New Zealand copied their rugby counter-parts by performing the famous Haka. While the rest of the crowd were stunned, Nazir admitted it was something they were expecting.
“We had been watching videos and were expecting them to do the haka,” he said. “We wanted to do the UAE traditional dance but unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to do it.”
In other results, defending champions Australia, who have won every edition since its inception in 1995, thrashed Malaysia while India proved to be too strong for Singapore.
All nine teams participating in the Indoor Cricket World Cup Dubai 2017 gathered on Saturday at the Insportz Club for the opening ceremony.
The National Anthem of all nine countries: the UAE, Australia, England, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, India, New Zealand and Sri Lanka were played to mark the occasion, while a local UAE troupe performed the traditional Ayala stick dance.
Emirates Cricket Board member Zayed Abbas welcomed all the athletes and officials to Dubai and was especially proud of the UAE representation at the event.
President of the World Indoor Cricket Federation Greg Donnelley formally declared the games open. Donnelly, who has been associated with the indoor games for over 25 years, said “The World Indoor Cricket federation is pleased to be hosting the Indoor Cricket World Cup for the first time ever in the Middle East.
“Cricket is growing at a fast pace in this region, and we hope the World Cup will play a significant role in growing the sport in the region. While Indoor Cricket has a strong base in countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, it is heartening to see countries like Malaysia and Singapore here with us, it is a sign that the future of the sport is secure.”
Please find below the schedule of matches on September 16, 2017 at Insportz Club Dubai.
Having won every edition since its inception, defending Indoor Cricket World Cup champions Australia are wary of the pressure placed on them once again and expect this week’s competition to be the most “fiercely” contested tournament for a long time.
Hosts UAE, England, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Singapore will all be bidding to do something that no other nation has done before and dethrone Australia as world champions in the men’s, women’s, men’s U-21 and women’s U-21 categories.
The men’s side have triumphed on each occasion since 1995, while their female counterparts have dominated since 1998. Their U-21 sides also followed suit, winning every title since 2004.
The 10th edition of the week-long competition gets underway at Dubai’s InSportz Club today and Australia men’s skipper Lyle Teske is bracing for a difficult seven days.
“I think this will be one of the most fiercely World Cups for a long time,” he said, whose side open their campaign against Malaysia today. “All the oppositions are all very strong and we just have to focus on what we have to do. If we do that, then I think we can do very well.
“If we have one edge, then it’s something that we have done it before. But when it comes to games, pressure is a funny thing.”
For Jude Coleman, she has skippered the Australian female’s team since 1995 and has seen the format grow. “We find that every year it’s growing and we have set the standard and know they are trying to catch us,” said the six-time World Cup winner.
“We have a very good structure at home and we are expecting an even tougher World Cup. There’s definitely on the pressure for a team who has never lost the World Cup final but we have prepared
Regina Lilli’s New Zealand side lost to Australia in the women’s final but believes a squad mixed with youth and experienced, can go all the way this time.
“The girls have worked hard to get here,” she said, who face South Africa today.
“We have nothing to lose here and give it our best shot. Our team got a good mix of young players and there’s a lot of youngsters coming through and the future is looking bright for the women’s game.”
For the UAE, the men’s side open against six-time runners-up New Zealand, who they beat in a warm-up on Monday, while the women’s side play England and Australia.