Chasing 233, thanks to Vani Morea’s 52, at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium, the hosts would have fancied their chances of reaching that target considering they posted a mammoth 292 on Friday.
At the half-way point, 133 runs were needed but lost five wickets including Ghulam Shabbir, who struck 70, in the space of five overs.
By that time, it proved to be too much for the tail-enders with PNG dismissing the UAE for 206.
Having recovered from 91-2, Shabbir and veteran batsman Shaiman Anwar put on 57 runs before the latter was run-out for 15.
Shabbir (70) and Rameez Shahzad were both removed by Assad Vala in the very next over and Mustafa feels those wickets proved to decisive in the game. “We lost an early wicket in our run-chase but managed to recover,” said Mustafa, who was his team’s second highest batsman with 37.
“I think in the last 15 overs, we should’ve done much better. We lost a few wickets that were key to winning the game for us.
“Shaiman Anwar was run-out and then Shabbir and Rameez were out as well within quick balls.”
Unlike Friday where he orchestrated his 87-run innings, Shahzad was sent back to the pavilion without making a single run.
Mustafa admits if there was one man they needed at the crease, it was Shahzad. “Rameez scored big in the last match and he was in a tremendous form,” said the 28-year-old. “But I felt he should have taken more responsibility because once he gets going, he’s a very dangerous player and can change the game around.”
The skipper did see some positives especially in the bowling where spinner Imran Haider (2-31) and pacer Zahoor Khan (2-34) impressed with the ball.
“I thought we did a great job in the bowling by giving us a good target to chase,” he said. “We could’ve done better but there’s still work to do for the next game.”
The result leaves the UAE seventh in the eight-team 50-over competition with PNG second.
The teams will meet again for another ODI on Tuesday.
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