UAE not eyeing revenge as they take on Hong Kong for a spot in Asia Cup

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UAE coach: Dougie Brown.

Head coach Dougie Brown insists revenge will not be on his players’ minds when the UAE take on Hong Kong on Thursday for a place in the Asia Cup main round.

The two nations meet in the Qualifier final at Kuala Lumpur’s Kinrara Oval (05:30am UAE start) where the winners can look forward to joining India and Pakistan in Group A of the showpiece event later this month.

It will be their second meeting in four days after Hong Kong triumphed by a convincing 182 runs on Saturday but Brown says his team is not seeking revenge.

“Tomorrow isn’t about revenge,” the 48-year-old said, whose side finished top of the six-team standings with eight points.

“We are facing a dangerous team and we know how well they played in the group stage. We know what is at stake tomorrow. If we get that right then we face the two biggest games that the UAE will play and more significantly in our own backyard.”

Hong Kong, who finished runners-up in the standings, are the only side the UAE failed to beat in the tournament which featured Nepal, Singapore, Oman and Malaysia.

Brown is wary of the threat posed by Hong Kong but knows if every UAE team members plays to potential, they will be hard to beat.

“Everyone knows what we’re playing for and we have to understand what we need to do as individuals,” he added. “If each person gets their own individual game right and have the right attitude that we showed throughout the whole tournament, then result should look after itself. There is a lot of cricket to be played until the end of the game.”

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Hong Kong have edge over UAE in 50-over format ahead of Asia Cup Qualifier final

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UAE and Hong Kong will be playing for a place in the Asia Cup

The UAE take on Hong Kong with a lot more than just the Asia Qualifier winning trophy on the line. Whoever prevails on Thursday at Malaysia’s Bandar Kinrara ground can look forward to rubbing shoulders with Pakistan and India in the main event, which will be held in the UAE later this month.

It will be the second time in a week the two nations will be meeting after Hong Kong triumphed by 182 runs on September 1.

Ahead of their rematch, we look back at the UAE’s previous 50-over meetings with Hong Kong since 2014.

SEPTEMBER 2018 – UAE LOST BY 182 RUNS

The UAE went into the game on the back of two convincing victories in the Asia Cup Qualifiers as they eased past Singapore and Nepal. But Dougie Brown’s side came unstuck against Hong Kong in their third group game. An imposing 276 was the target for the UAE as 20-year-old skipper Anshy Rath and Babar Hayat both scored centuries. The UAE never got going in their run-chase with number three batsman and captain Rohan Mustafa top-scoring with 33 as they were bowled out for 93.

JANUARY 2017 – WON BY SIX WICKETS

The last time the two countries met in an ODI and it was the UAE who came out on top. Playing at Dubai International Stadium in the tri-series tournament, Imran Haider stole the show taking four wickets as Hong Kong were shot out for 174. Shaiman Anwar’s half-century set the platform for the hosts as they reached their target with 11 overs to spare.

Imran Haider starred for UAE

Imran Haider starred for the UAE.

NOVEMBER 2015 – LOST BY 136 RUNS

Hong Kong overpowered UAE in the World Cricket League Championship in Dubai. Tanwir Afzal’s 73 and Rath’s 53 ensured a total of 282 after 50 overs. That total proved to be too much as Anwar’s 71 was one of only four double figure scores as UAE were all out for 146.

NOVEMBER 2015 – LOST BY 89 RUNS

In the first World Cricket League Championship clash at Dubai’s ICC Academy, the UAE were up against it when the tourists amassed 298-4. Mark Chapman, now representing New Zealand, made a perfect ODI debut as he hit 124. Anwar again impressed with the bat, hitting 76 and not for the first time his efforts went in vain as UAE were comprehensively beaten.

Mark Chapman was in top form

Mark Chapman was in top form for Hong Kong.

MAY 2014 – WON BY TWO WICKETS

The first ODI meeting between the two countries came in the same city as Thursday’s finale. Mohammad Shahzad took four wickets to bowl out Hong Kong for 157. What looked like a straight forward chase turned out to be anything but. Fayyez Ahmed’s 37 and Amjad Ali’s 39 clinched a tense two wicket victory.

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Rahul Bhatia thrilled to be called up to UAE squad for Asia Cup Qualifier

Denzil Pinto 20/08/2018
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Heading to Malaysia: Rahul Bhatia. Image: ACC Facebook

Teenager Rahul Bhatia says he was surprised to be called up to the UAE squad for the Asia Cup Qualifier but is relishing the challenge ahead in Malaysia.

The 19-year-old flew out with the senior squad to Malaysia on Sunday morning after making the 15-man squad. The Emirates Cricket Board publicly announced their squad on Saturday but Bhatia, like the rest of the players learnt they made the cut three weeks’ ago.

The left-arm spinner had been training with the senior cricketers for two months over the summer and is delighted to have proved his potential to the selectors.

“I really wasn’t expecting to be named in the squad to be honest,” he said. “When I heard the news, I didn’t really express myself but later I was really happy.

“I had only been training with the guys for two months and thought it would be a great experience just to be close to the senior guys and pick up tips here and there. I didn’t really expect to go to Malaysia but it’s something that I am looking forward to.”

The UAE have more than a week to acclimatise to conditions ahead of their opening game against Singapore on August 29. They will also face Malaysia, Hong Kong, Nepal and Oman for a place to rub shoulders with Asia’s elite when the main showpiece event is held in the UAE next month.

On his last visit to Malaysia, Bhatia was lethal with the ball and was named best bowler in the Under-19 Asia Cup Qualifiers. He hopes to bank on that experience with the senior side but even if he doesn’t play, he insists it will be a great learning curve.

“Of course my aim is to make a mark but I know how difficult it will be to make the team,” he added. “But having said that, any time I spend with the older guys in training will be valuable for me in developing as a player.”

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