Chirag Suri was happy to have taken the responsibility with the bat in the UAE’s six-wicket victory over the Netherlands in their World Cup Qualifier clash on Thursday.
The 23-year-old batsman frustrated the Dutch bowlers with a solid display in Zimbabwe with an unbeaten 78 as his side chased down 177 with six overs to spare.
Suri was playing in his second straight game after replacing Ashfaq Ahmed in the starting lineup and was pleased to have played a vital match-winning knock.
“When you’re chasing a score of 170 odd, you’ve got time to get in and that’s what I planned to do,” he said. “Initially, I left the balls that were going off-stump and knew I didn’t have to fiddle with those. I was playing the balls within the stump as the ball was skipping up and down.
“It wasn’t an easy wicket. But for me, it was important to go across the line especially after playing so many balls. If you come in and then get out, it’s not going to help the team’s cause and I was really happy to convert the score and take the team over the line.”
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He added: “Whenever we lost wickets, we never lost them in patches. In the top three, you need someone to take you through and luckily I was the one.”
Despite his heroic efforts, Suri was denied the man of the match award with captain Rohan Mustafa once again leading from the front. The all-rounder rattled the Dutch batting line-up with figures of 5-26 and Suri had nothing but praise for the skipper.
“He is someone who always likes to attack the stumps,” said Suri, who was bought by Gujarat Lions in last year’s IPL. “He has worked really hard for us and is picking up wickets at a very crucial time for us. It’s not just today, he’s been doing that for a couple of games now. His contribution is invaluable. I hope he keeps that going.”
The result puts the UAE on the verge of reaching the Super Six stage after two wins from three games. Ireland are up next on Tuesday and Suri insists they will not get carried away and focus on each game as it comes.
“We have come here to progress in the tournament. We have always dreamed of a World Cup and this is one step closer. But we have to keep working. But will take it game by game, we don’t want to get too carried away. First there is Ireland and we want to focus on that game.”
The UAE are on the brink of qualifying for the next phase of the World Cup Qualifier after Chirag Suri hit a superb 78 not out to secure a comfortable six-wicket win over the Netherlands in Harare.
Dougie Brown’s men needed to muster a response after Chris Gayle smashed his way to 123 runs from 91 balls – and dragged West Indies to victory – two days prior.
Now they have a win to pair with their opening success over Papua New Guinea as Rohan Mustafa and Suri starred.
Mustafa’s off-spin produced a five-wicket haul for the expense of just 26 runs, but two head-scratching run outs involving Wesley Barresi and Ben Cooper also led to the Netherlands’ downfall.
They could only manage 176 all out – Barresi top-scoring with 37 – but the chase would not have been so straightforward were it not for Suri.
The 23-year-old opener was a calming influence at the crease, with the UAE being reduced to 84-4 at one point.
Indeed there proved nothing to worry about in the end as Suri caressed 78 runs from 126 balls and saw out the chase alongside middle-order batsman Muhammad Usman (36 not out).
The UAE next take on an unbeaten Ireland on Monday though Brown can now afford to look ahead to the Super Sixes phase – which sees the top two teams qualify for next year’s World Cup.
Buoyed by their battling effort in their West Indies defeat, Dougie Brown has challenged his players to play consistent cricket for the entire match if the UAE want to come out on top against Netherlands on Thursday.
The UAE earned the plaudits for how they pushed the Caribbean side nearly all the way in their chase of 358, only to fall to a 60-run loss in the World Cup Qualifier on Tuesday.
Netherlands are next up at Zimbabwe’s Harare Sports Club with the UAE looking to boost their Super Six qualification hopes with their second triumph of the tournament.
Brown says he’s been pleased with how his troops have played so far but has challenged them to be more consistent against the World Cricket League champions.
“We bring in some really good form into this game,” said the 48-year-old. “We have done very well in patches with the bat and ball so far. What’s going to be important is to bring this confidence that we have and try and piece together a consistent match of the full 100 overs.
“We have probably not managed to piece together 100 overs in cricket in the tournament. We know we have it in us because we have played some very good patches in play. Tomorrow, it’s about making sure that we get into the game and be consistent for the entirety of it.”
The last time the nations met, the UAE secured a 2-1 series triumph over the Dutch in Amsterdam.
A number of their key players who missed that series are in the squad, most notably Ryan ten Doeschate. The 37-year-old batsman is back in the national set-up after a six-year gap in a bid of helping his national team qualify for the World Cup.
He’s someone that Brown knows very well having played alongside him during his county days in England and is fully aware of the threat he can pose.
“He’s an exceptional player and is a very dangerous cricketer on his day and we will be talking about him during our meeting,” added Brown. “But they are not a one-man or two-man team by any stretch.
“They have a number of match winners in their squad and can pose a threat to any team in cricket.”