UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir was completely taken by surprise by the hostile line and length of the South African bowlers and called Thursday’s 146-run loss to South Africa in Wellington one of their finest performances of this World Cup.
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The UAE wanted to do two things in the match – restrict the rampant South African batsmen to as low a total as possible, and then bat out the 50 overs.
They almost succeeded on both counts. For a team that crossed the total of 400 twice in their last three outings, the Proteas could manage only 341 against the UAE. And then, they played 47.3 overs in making 195-9 against an attack that seemed desperate to bounce out the batsmen.
A satisfied Tauqir said: “I think South Africa is one of the best teams, and they are one of the favourites for the World Cup.
“Our bowling performance was very good today, but we dropped a couple of catches here and there. I think up to 44-45 overs, it seemed that they would score 300, not 340. But even restricting them to 340 was a good job from our bowling side.
“Coming to their bowling, yes…I was a bit shocked that instead of hitting the wicket, they were trying to hit the batsmen.
“They are a very good side. I think it was a gutsy performance on our side that we almost played 50 overs and Swapnil Patil played a brilliant knock.”
When asked if this was the most aggressive bowling attack his side has ever faced, Tauqir said: “I think I would say Pakistan bowling attack was equally very aggressive. All their three bowlers were 145 plus and similarly here, also. But the South Africans were more targeting the bodies than the stumps.
“We don’t play South Africa every day, so we don’t face these kind of bowlers every day. I think playing 50 overs against such a bowling attack gives a lot of confidence to our batters.
“I think the more we play against them – I was facing Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel the first time in my life, and similarly for the rest of the team – so, the more opportunities we get, the better we become.”
The bad news for UAE is that they Fahad Al Hashmi’s injury is serious enough for the team management to try and fly him out to Dubai from Wellington itself. They do not want to take the risk of flying the well-built Emirati policeman in a small aircraft to Napier and back for their final group match against West Indies.
“I think unfortunately Fahad has a bad injury. I think he got a knee ligament rupture and it’s not looking good,” confirmed Tauqir.
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