Bowlers impress as UAE keep slim World Cup hopes alive with victory over Oman

Denzil Pinto 12/02/2018
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Vital knock: Ghulam Shabbir.

The UAE kept their slim hopes of reaching next month’s World Cup Qualifiers alive after their bowlers delivered in style to pull off an unlikely 46-run victory against Oman.

With successive losses to Canada and Nepal, the UAE entered their World Cricket League Division Two clash against their Gulf neighbours knowing nothing but victory would do if they wanted to still be in contention of claiming the top two qualifying spots.

They duly delivered with their bowlers saving the national team after the batsmen struggled again with a total score of 159 despite Ghulam Shabbir’s 63-run effort.

Imran Haider (3-31) and Mohammad Naveed (3-8) were the two to do the most damage as Oman suffered a remarkable batting collapse. At 93-4 at the half-way stage, they appeared to be cruising but the UAE hit back, claiming five wickets for 12 runs.

For spinner Haider, he was happy to have played his role with the ball in a significant victory.

“Obviously to win a match is a special feeling but the way we bounced back and defended a small total was very satisfying,” said the 30-year-old. “I’m delighted to have played an excellent game and I hope we can go on and become stronger from now on.”

For captain Rohan Mustafa, he had nothing but praise for his bowlers. “The way that we came back was excellent and Mohammad Naveed and Imran Haider bowled extremely well,” said the 29-year-old all-rounder. “The wicket wasn’t easy to play on and we gave our wickets away. I’m really happy with how our bowlers bowled.”

Despite years of representing the national team, he was thrilled to have been on the winning side in one of the “most pressurised” games he has played in.

“It was a match where there was a lot of pressure,” Mustafa added. “It wasn’t a type of match that I had played before. But I’m happy to have won because the last two games were very disappointing.”

The result puts the UAE in third position, two points behind Nepal who stay in second following a last-ball three-wicket win over Kenya on Monday. Canada still remain top of the standings with six points despite a shock 17-run defeat to Namibia.

The UAE take on hosts Namibia on Wednesday where victory is essential if they want to reach the Qualifier in Zimbabwe.

Head coach Dougie Brown will be hoping for a better batting performance against Namibia with three of their top six batsmen reaching double figures against Oman.

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UAE's chances of reaching World Cup Qualifier fade after Nepal loss

Denzil Pinto 11/02/2018
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Nepal's Paras Khadka scored a half-century

UAE’s task of reaching next month’s World Cup Qualifier became tougher as they fell to a second successive loss in the World Cricket League Division Two on Sunday, this time against Nepal.

In a match that was reduced to 34 overs after play was delayed by a wet outfield in Namibia, the UAE batsmen struggled at Windhoek. They only managed 114 with veteran batsman Shaiman Anwar top-scoring with 30 as Nepal’s 17-year-old spinning sensation Sandeep Lamichhane showed why he was bought by Delhi Daredevils in the IPL auction.

Lamichhane (3-30) took the key wickets of Anwar, Rameez Shahzad (4) and Muhammad Usman (0).

Nepal managed to cross the line with four wickets to spare despite being 20-3 at one stage. Skipper Paras Khadka led from the front, hitting 51 runs as Nepal reached their target in 28.5 overs.

The result leaves UAE third in the six-team standings on two points, two behind Nepal and four adrift of surprise leaders Canada (six). The Canadians defeated Kenya by 59 runs.

With the top two teams qualifying for March’s World Cup Qualifier, the UAE face must-win matches against Oman today and hosts Namibia on Wednesday.

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UAE head coach Dougie Brown expects players to bounce back strongly against Nepal

Denzil Pinto 10/02/2018
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UAE head coach Dougie Brown says their loss to Canada provided them with a timely wake-up call ahead of their crucial match against Nepal on Sunday.

The national team go into their World Cricket League Division Two match in Namibia on the back of Friday’s disappointing 23-run defeat to Canada despite looking on course for victory in their chase of 210. The UAE had thrashed Kenya by 218 run in their opening match on Thursday.

With three more matches to play, another negative result will leave the UAE with an uphill task of claiming one of the top two spots and a place in next month’s World Cup Qualifier.

And Brown insists if they want to book their flight to Zimbabwe, they cannot afford to put on another disappointing performance where only four batsmen reached double figures.

“I hope the defeat is a wake-up call,” said Brown. “It’s disappointing because it’s a game (Canada) that we really should have won. At one point being 120 to win and to come short is really disappointing. But with the way the results have gone in the last two days, we are exactly in the same position as we were in the first game of the competition.

“Now there are three games to go and it’s imperative that we put on strong performances for these matches. We can’t afford another blip like we had today.”

Captain Rohan Mustafa, who took five wickets in the Canada loss, admitted the players only had themselves to blame and vowed to return to winning ways and Brown expects no different.

“There are two ways that we can deal with this,” said the 48-year-old.

“We can sulk and point the finger at this and for that reason and make excuses. Or, we can come back as men and a team who are hungry and want to put things right which we didn’t do today. Knowing this bunch of lads, I’m sure they will come back and prove to people that it’s a blip and we have the best of our games ahead of us. We can’t afford to have another day like we had today.”

The former Warwickshire coach added: “Just for some reason we have managed to not deal with the pressure. We need to trust what we’re doing in training. We got most of the game right today but the thing that was important was from where we were in a match winning situation and just shows that if you can’t see the game to its conclusion, you won’t win matches.”

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