2020 T20 World Cup Qualifier: UAE's hopes go up in flames as Scotland clinch Australia berth

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Berrington sizzled with the bat for Scotland. Image credit - T20WC/Twitter.

The UAE’s final hopes of qualifying for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia were emphatically crushed with Scotland becoming the fifth team to book their place in next year’s tournament.

Ahmed Raza’s men were second best in all departments as a rampant Scotland romped their way to a comprehensive 90-run win in the Qualifier play-off in Dubai.

Having been set a daunting target of 199 to win the game, the hosts were bundled out for just 108 runs after a sorry batting effort. Scotland’s progression to the ‘Big Dance’ in Australia has brought the curtain down on a tumultuous campaign for the UAE, who have been rocked with off-pitch controversies throughout the past two weeks.

Explosive Munsey takes toll on UAE

The UAE were put on the back-foot straight away in the match with Scotland opener George Munsey giving the visitors an explosive start. The left-hander had scored plenty of runs in the campaign with his trademark reverse sweep and he used that shot to devastating effect against the hosts on Wednesday.

UAE spinner Sultan Ahmed was the first to feel its brunt with Munsey swatting him for two sixes and a boundary in the third over of the powerplay. That was the trigger the Scotsman needed to get going at the crease and he went on to land a few more lusty blows on his way to a rapid half-century.

Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer was content to take a back seat in the opening partnership which fetched 87 runs before he fell for a 33-ball 34. Munsey, meanwhile, continued his onslaught against the bowlers before the southpaw was eventually dismissed for 65 (43) by Raza after Rameez Shahzad pulled off a stunning one-handed catch.

Berrington thwarts UAE fightback

The UAE would have hoped that Munsey’s dismissal would bring some respite but that wasn’t the case as Richie Berrington upped the ante even further for Scotland. The right-hander upstaged Munsey’s knock with some devastating fireworks of his own, as he smashed his way to three sixes and four boundaries in a brief, but entertaining stay.

Berrington was on course for an 18-ball fifty before he missed an attempted scoop shot to lose his stumps. Still, his 18-ball 48 ensured that the Scots ended up with a mammoth total despite a late flurry of wickets for the UAE bowlers, initiated by Rohan Mustafa.

The all-rounder’s two scalps in the match helped him move past Mohammed Naveed to become the UAE’s new leading wicket-taker in T20Is. Unfortunately, it was the only silver lining for the hosts on a dark day, with Calum MacLeod’s brisk 25-run cameo at the death propelling Scotland to 198-6.

Hosts crumble in steep run-chase

Sharif sent Suri packing in the very first over. Image credit - T20WC/Twitter.

Sharif sent Suri packing in the very first over. Image credit – T20WC/Twitter.

The UAE’s highest-ever T20I total had been the 182-7 they registered against the USA in March this year and, as such, it was going to take some effort from them to scale 198 against the Scots with a paper-thin batting line-up.

In the end, it proved to be a mountain too high for the hosts who never got going in their run-chase. The scoreboard pressure showed as they lost their openers Chirag Suri and Mustafa inside just 13 deliveries.

At 12-2 and with two of their best batsmen back in the pavilion, the writing was painfully on the wall already for Raza’s men, who never recovered from the early blows. Shahzad offered some brief resistance with a 34-run knock but the UAE batting collapsed completely soon after his dismissal in the ninth over of the run-chase. From 55-2, the hosts slumped to 84-7 and that proved to be game, set and match for Scotland.

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