UAE captain Rohan Mustafa to play in Nepal's T20 Everest Premier League

Denzil Pinto 17/07/2018
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UAE captain Rohan Mustafa will return to Nepal later this year after signing for Kathmandu Kings XI in the upcoming T20 Everest Premier League.

The 29-year-old all-rounder was announced by the franchise on Monday and will join a team that will be looking to make up for their group exit last year where they registered just one win.

It will be the second time that Mustafa will be playing in Nepal after he was named man of the series for champions Team Chauraha Dhangadhi in the Dhangadhi Premier League in April.

And Mustafa insists that experience will be beneficial when he plays in the tournament, which is scheduled for November.

“The Everest Premier League is Nepal’s best T20 tournament and there were some other clubs who were interested in me but I signed for Kathmandu Kings XI,” said Mustafa.

“They are a great side and have Nepal’s fast-bowler Sompal Kami, who I played alongside in the Dhangadhi Premier League for Team Chauraha Dhangadhi earlier this year. It was great playing under his leadership there and with him as my team-mate, It’ll be easier for me to settle.”

He added: “The conditions might be a little bit different (to the Dhangadhi Premier League) but not that much. Of course when you go somewhere where it’s new and don’t know anyone it can be hard but Kami is there and having him in the team will help me a lot. The experience playing in Nepal will be massive for me but it will be a difficult tournament as it’s the best T20 tournament in Nepal.”

Mustafa will be sharing a dressing room with Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien – who scored a 100 in his nation’s Test debut against Pakistan in May – after the batsman was roped in by Kathmandu Kings XI and the UAE skipper is looking forward to playing alongside him.

“He’s a great player who has proven himself to be an excellent batsman,” he said. “It will be very good for me to learn from him because he has had a solid career with Ireland and his experience can help us go far.”

Kings XI COO Raj Jung Thapa is delighted with the acquisition of Mustafa.

“Rohan Mustafa is a left-handed batsman and a right-arm slow bowler, a perfect all-rounder for the team, with a proven track record in Nepal and loves playing in Nepal,” he said.

“This batting all-rounder has the capacity to bat at any order and will be a key ingredient for Kathmandu Kings XI, which is the biggest franchise in TVS EPL, and Rohan has declared he is very happy to come back and play in Nepal.”

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UAE women's coach Murali Sockalingam proud of team's efforts at World Twenty20 Qualifier

Denzil Pinto 15/07/2018
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Proud of efforts: Murali Sockalingam (second right)

UAE coach Murali Sockalingam admits their last-over defeat against Papua New Guinea (PNG) effectively cost them the chance to reach the Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier semi-finals but is proud of his team’s efforts in Netherlands.

The UAE will fly back to Dubai in the early hours of Monday having finished seventh in the eight-team tournament following their thrilling Super Over win against the Dutch on Saturday.

They could have finished much higher and secured a place in the last-four if it wasn’t for their agonizing two-wicket loss to PNG last Sunday in which the South Western Pacific nation reached their 84-run target with one ball to spare.

Sockalingam insists the loss was a game that had a big impact on his players.

“That game cost us,” he said. “If we won that we would have reached the semi-finals and possibly a final. We could have given a good fight against Ireland (in the semi-finals). The game toppled everything for us and the confidence of the players went a bit low.

“It’s a sad thing. One small thing can change the whole complex of a match and scenario. That game against PNG was a decider. There were a few dropped catches which cost us the game.”

The UAE’s dream of claiming one of the two available berths for the 2018 showpiece event in West Indies was ended following their loss to Bangladesh in their final group game.

And after losing to Thailand in the fifth-place play-off, there was something to smile for the UAE as they stunned the Dutch on their own patch for the second time in a week.

Subha Srinivasan claimed two wickets in the Super Over to deny the Dutch after the scores were level at 146. And despite three defeats from five games, Sockalingam says the UAE can take a lot of positives from their second-ever ICC tournament.

“The 14 girls who played the tournament have gained valuable experience where they can learn a lot,” he said. “It will help them to practice hard and become better players and for them to be compatible in this level of cricket.

“We are all part-timers because people go to work and study whereas Bangladesh and Ireland (who qualified) have been playing cricket consistently. Hats off to our girls for their efforts who have put in a lot of work for this tournament. They gave a good account of themselves and performed well especially as we didn’t have any international matches in the preparation and in what was different conditions to what we are used to.”

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UAE women's captain Humaira Tasneem wants an improved batting performance against Netherlands

Denzil Pinto 13/07/2018
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Humaira Tasneem (left) wants a much better batting performance agains the Dutch

UAE women’s captain Humaira Tasneem has challenged her team-mates to take more responsibility with the bat if they want to beat Netherlands again and end their World Twenty20 Qualifier campaign on a high.

The UAE take on the hosts on Saturday in the 7/8th place play-off with both sides playing for pride after seeing their qualification hopes ended in the group stage.

Tasneem’s side come into the game on the back of a seven-wicket defeat to Thailand on Thursday in which they were bowled out for 50.

It was the third straight match that the UAE fared poorly with the bat after scores of 39 and 83 against Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea respectively.

But their six-wicket victory against the Netherlands a week ago where they chased 137 shows there’s strong talent in the batting department and Tasneem wants to see that kind of performance in their final game.

“I think in the last three games, our batting hasn’t been great,” said the spinner. “Not one of the batters has taken responsibility and I hope we do it on Saturday. Someone has to take responsibility and play our shots and stay there and at least scoring a run a ball.  I hope that happens because we need to improve as a team as a batting unit.”

“The win against the Netherlands will give us a lot confidence because we chased a total in order to beat them. That was very important for us and we started the tournament by winning against them and that is how we want to end it.

“We will play against Netherlands in good spirit and want to try and win our last game here.”

The victory against the Dutch put them in a strong position of reaching the semi-finals. A win against either Papua New Guinea or Asian Twenty20 champions Bangladesh in the group would have sealed their spot in the last-four.

But they fell to a last-ball defeat to Papua New Guinea before coming up short against Bangladesh as their dream of reaching their first-ever World Twenty20 ended.

Ireland and Bangladesh, who will meet in Saturday’s final, will complete the line-up for November’s showpiece event in the West Indies. Tasneem admits things could have been different if they scored big totals.

“We are upset we didn’t reach the semis,” she said. “The game against PNG was really close. If we had won that we would have reached the semi-finals and keep the dream alive. T20 cricket is a format where anything can happen. We didn’t click as a batting unit and if that had happened things would have been different today.”

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