Zimbabwe newspaper label UAE cricket team a bunch of 'amateurs'

David Cooper 23/03/2018
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UAE coach: Dougie Brown.

The Herald, Zimbabwe’s most prominent daily newspaper, branded the UAE Cricket Team a “rag-tag team of amateurs” after Dougie Brown’s side ended the country’s 2019 ICC World Cup qualification hopes on Thursday.

The headline, which prompted Brown to respond with the Tweet below, came after the UAE produced a fine performance to win by three runs (D/L) at Harare Sports Club and gain their first major victory in 15 one-day international encounters over a Full Member team.

Zimbabwe needed to beat either the West Indies or the UAE to reach next year’s cricketing showpiece in England and Wales but were beaten by Brown’s men, while Afghanistan turned over Ireland on Friday to end their chances.

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UAE captain Rohan Mustafa happy with team effort in World Cup Qualifier

Denzil Pinto 23/03/2018
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High five: Rohan Mustafa (left).

UAE captain Rohan Mustafa believes his team could have won more matches if they had a fully-fit squad for the Super Six stage.

The UAE bowed out of the World Cup Qualifier on a winning note with a historic three-run victory over Zimbabwe on Thursday. It was their first win in all formats against a Test-playing nation and only triumph in the second round of the 10-team tournament after falling to Scotland and Afghanistan in their previous two matches.

They had to do without key players – batsman Rameez Shahzad, wicket-keeper Ghulam Shabbir and Mohammad Hayat, who missed some games due to illness and injury, although they returned against Zimbabwe.

But having been encouraged by his team’s performance throughout the entire competition, Mustafa insists they would have registered more positive results if they had all players fit.

“It was a good tournament for us,” the all-rounder said. “We were in the same situation as Zimbabwe in Division Two World Cricket League where we were almost out of the tournament but needed to win our remaining games to stay in contention.

“We came to Zimbabwe and reached the Super Six stage, so it is a great tour for us. We were thinking of games that we could win but we had players injured and it cost us a lot. Rameez was injured, Amir Hayat was not well and was Ghulam Shabbir. But we will work hard and come back.”

It is unclear when the UAE will play their next match this year but Mustafa, who was found guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct and fined 15 per cent of his match fee along with Zimbabwe batsman Sean Williams, said they will take a lot of self-belief that they can beat any team on their day.

“We can take a lot from this match and with it a lot of confidence,” he said. “It shows we can beat good teams. Zimbabwe are one of the best teams in the tournament and it was a great learning curve for us. Guys will take confidence from this and will help us in the future.”

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Haseeb Hameed scores 85 in Lancashire win over ECB Blues in Dubai

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In form: Haseeb Hameed

Haseeb Hameed showed signs that he’s back in form with an unbeaten half-century for Lancashire in their 225-run victory against the ECB Blues in Dubai on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old scored 85 before retiring as The Red Rose posted an imposing 395-4 in their 50-overs at the ICC Academy. In his 82 deliveries, he hit seven boundaries and one six before giving way for other batsmen at the crease.

After Steven Croft (95) and Jordan Clarke (117no) impressed with the bat, Hameed took a catch as the ECB Blues were restricted to 170-9, falling to a 225-run defeat.

His knock was his highest since his 62-run innings against Somerset in September and Lancashire coaching staff will be hoping this could be just the start from the opening batsman.

After a promising 2016 season, Hameed endured a frustrating 2017, with one first-class half-century up until September. He then scored 88 against Essex as well as 62 against Somerset before a broken finger injury ended his campaign.

The batsman, who made his Test debut in 2016 against India, will be hoping to add to his international caps when England host Pakistan and England this summer.

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