UAE captain Amjad Javed has challenged his team to end their disappointing year on a high with a consolation victory against Afghanistan on Sunday.
It’s been a frustrating 2016 for the hosts, who have struggled to replicate the form that saw them qualify for the 2015 World Cup, while also seeing Aaqib Javed end his successful four-year stint as coach in May.
In 28 matches in all formats, the UAE have only registered eight victories, including the three wins that saw them reach the Asia Cup main tournament in March. All-rounder Amjad admits he’s been frustrated with the results in the last 12 months but insists a win over Afhganistan in the final T20 of the series in Dubai, in which they have already lost, will give them a lot of confidence.
“Definitely it’s not been a good year,” said Amjad, installed as skipper in all formats in 2016.
“We would’ve like to have won some matches but at times, we just lost out. It could’ve have been a different story but now we can only focus on the future. If you see the performances of the team during the last year, everyone can see that we’re not playing well. We’ve been playing okay but not concentrating fully enough.
“If we can win this game against Afghanistan, it will be really good for us and it will motivate us for future matches in 2017.”
His team’s last success was in October during the six-wicket victory against Oman, but Amjad insists he’s seeing signs of improvement in their recent defeats.
“We pushed England Lions all the way in the third game and only lost by a few runs, while we came really close to beating Afghanistan on Friday, so we can be dangerous when we play to our potential,” he said. “To win the game, everyone needs to focus on every ball and play their part because it’s a team effort.
“As soon as you win one game, you can start building on that.”
The UAE will go into their semi- final clash with a perfect record after a resounding 77-run triumph over Qatar on Saturday in the International Women’s T20 Cup.
The hosts were already assured of a last-four spot after beating Malaysia and Kenya but Mohammed Haider’s team were intent on making it three straight wins. They now face Kuwait in Sunday’s semi-final and will fancy their chances of reaching the final based on Saturday’s performance.
Batting first at Sharjah Stadium, the UAE got off to a brilliant start with openers Subha Srinivasan (31) and Esha Oza (18) sharing a fine 50run partnership for the first wicket.
Chaya Mughal chipped in with a crucial 18 before being run-out, while Priyanjali Jain fired a 21-ball 25 as the hosts posted an impressive 139-7 in 20 overs.
Qatar had a poor start to their run-chase with UAE skipper Humaira Tasneem (one) and Natasha Michael (two) removing the top three batswomen with just eight on the board.
Kerry Pounsett (14) and Nazia Tabbasum (17) put up a brief resistence but the UAE bowled exceptionally well as the tourists were all out for 62 in 16.5 overs.
In another game, Kenya defeated Malaysia by 38 runs.
UAE coach Mohammed Haider has challenged his team to continue their perfect record in the competition as he looks set to make a number of changes in his starting 11 for Saturday’s match against Qatar.
The UAE booked their berth in the semi-finals of the International Women’s T20 Cup on Thursday with a resounding six-run victory over Kenya.
Captain Humaira Tasneem was the stand-out bowler with a devastating spell of 6-9 in her four overs.
The 21-year-old will be able to add to her tally at Sharjah Stadium but Haider will experiment with his squad ahead of the knock-out stages.
“Qatar are a competitive side but now that we have won two games, I want to give the other girls a chance,” he said. “I might make two or three changes to the team and give them an opportunity to see what they have got.
“But it’s going to be difficult. Competition within the squad is strong. Every player is really good and worthy of being included in the starting 11 but it’s also important to give them rest.”
The hosts go into the game with a perfect record with triumphs over Malaysia and Kenya and Haider insists it’s important they go into the semi-final tomorrow on a winning note.
“We want to win this game and top our group,” he said. “Nothing else will do, we want a clean sweep and gain momentum going into our semi-final match because it’s important to build that confidence.”
Other matches today, includes Kenya’s clash with Malaysia at Sharjah Stadium, while Kuwait entertain Uganda at Ajman Ovals.