UAE captain Rohan Mustafa believes the fast bowlers must shoulder some responsibility for their 73-run defeat to Scotland in their World Cup Qualifier on Thursday.
It was a tough day for the UAE bowlers as Scotland reached an imposing total of 322-6 in their 50-overs in the Super Six clash at Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Matthew Cross led the way for the European side with 114 runs, his second ODI century.
In the end, the target proved to be too much for the UAE as they were all out for 249 despite the brave efforts of Muhammad Usman (80) and Ahmed Raza (50). Although their chances were slim, the result meant that the UAE’s hopes of reaching their second successive and third World Cup is over with two matches to play.
Mustafa stood out with the ball with four wickets, while spinner Imran Haider and medium-pacer Zahoor Khan shared one scalp each.
Fellow fast-bowler Mohammad Naveed was the most expensive out all the bowlers after going for 6-68 despite only bowling eight overs.
But Mustafa was critical of his bowlers, particularly the pacers, who were unable to chip in with wickets at a time when they really needed them.
“I think to be honest if I have to say that our fast bowlers didn’t bowl really well,” he said during his post-match press conference.
“I will give credit to Scotland but our bowlers didn’t do much on this type of wicket. As you saw our fast bowlers have not been taking much wickets apart from Papua New Guinea, so I think that’s the thing that has been disappointing.
“This kind of wicket was a very slow wicket and it was turning at the start of the day as well. It was not easy but the guys managed to get beyond the 250 mark. We gave away too many runs in the bowling to be honest and their batsmen played really well and took advantage.”
They will be aiming to get their first Super Six points on board when they take on hosts Zimbabwe and Afghanistan within the next week.
Mustafa says his team-mates can take a leaf of how Mohammad Usman and Ahmed Raza performed against Scotland. Usman and Raza put on a 105-run stand for the seventh wicket and the skipper added: “That’s the bright point. Even if you stay on a wicket, what those boys did was exceptional. They stayed at the wicket over a long time and scored the runs. We will play hard in the remaining games and hopefully take some points.”
A career-best 114 from Matthew Cross proved to be the difference as Scotland defeated the UAE by 73 runs in their World Cup Qualifier clash on Thursday.
The Saltires kicked off their Super Six campaign in style with a commanding win which puts them in a strong position to qualify for the final ahead of next year’s World Cup.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat, it was a welcome return to form for Scotland who have struggled to post big scores in the early stages of the tournament.
Cross in particular had been struggling, having failed to pass 18 in his four knocks so far, but was back in form as Scotland posted a mammoth 322 for six. UAE captain Rohan Mustafa was the stand-out bowler with figures of 4-56.
Kyle Coetzer made a breezy 43 before he was dismissed, but Cross combined with Calum MacLeod (78) for a 161-run stand for the second wicket to put Scotland in a strong position.
The two pressed the accelerator going into the final 10 overs as Scotland put on 121 in the final 11 overs, but it was Cross who anchored the innings brilliantly in his 135-ball knock, which included four sixes. Richie Berrington and Harry Munsey helped boost the total above the 300 mark.
With a big target to chase, the UAE made a positive start in reply but after reaching 62, they lose three wickets for two runs.
A superb seventh-wicket stand of 104 between Mohammad Usman (80) and Ahmed Raza (50) lent some respectability to the UAE’s run-chase, but it was not quite enough as they were bowled out for 249.
Chris Sole finished with four for 68 as Scotland eventually clinched the win to move to the top of the table following West Indies’ defeat to Afghanistan.
For the UAE, they will take on Afghanistan on March 20.
Brown represented Scotland between 2005 and 2007 during his playing days, and was a member of the squad that played in the World Cup in the Caribbean.
The 48-year-old says he has happy memories of his international career but will be focused solely on delivering a positive result for the UAE at Queen Sports Club in Zimbabwe on Thursday.
“Absolutely,” he said. “My team is the UAE and definitely not Scotland. We wish them all the very best but my primary focus is where our cricket is at and how many games we can win at this stage of the competition.
“They were some of the most memorable parts of my career,” he added. “We had some great times. We qualified through the ICC Trophy for the 2007 World Cup. We had a very successful time through the campaign until the World Cup in the Caribbean, it was a very experienced side who could compete against any side on their day.”
The UAE face a stern task of reaching their second-successive World Cup. With points gained against fellow qualifiers, his side start the Super Sixes with zero points.
But he can be encouraged they can get their first points on board against a side who they had already beaten in Dubai earlier this year.
“Realistically, World Cup qualification will be really difficult but we will keep a very open mind of where our cricket is at and try and see what we can achieve over the course of these three matches,” he said.
“Scotland have a never-say-die attitude, very much like the Irish. From our perspective, we really have to get into the game if we can early in the game, and stay in the game and make it really difficult for Scotland to show their character and attitude.”