You couldn’t blame captain Rohan Mustafa for having a big smile on his face after his maiden century and five-wicket haul led the UAE to a ODI 2-1 series victory over Papua New Guinea.
The 28-year-old was in a class of his own with the bat, scoring 109 (seven fours and one six) runs as the hosts posted 251-9 at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.
He later returned and piled more misery on the PNG batsmen, taking his best figures of 5-25 as Dougie Brown’s team wrapped up a convincing 103-run victory.
It meant Mustafa follows in the footsteps of Sir Viv Richards and Paul Collingwood to have scored a century and taken five wickets in an ODI match.
It was his first series triumph since taking over the armband from Amjad Javed and he couldn’t have been more proud.
“It was a pressure match and my knock came at the right time,” he said. “As captain it was my first series and I wanted to win it. To clinch a series by scoring a century and claiming five wickets, it feels really good.”
The UAE went into the game on the back of a 26-run defeat in the World Cricket League Championship, which had levelled the series.
But they showed no signs of a repeat as Mustafa and Mohammed Qasim (33) put on a century stand for the first wicket.
Rameez Shahzad (37) added to the tally but instead of accelarating at 186-3 with more than 10 overs to go, they lost six wickets for 64 runs to reach 251.
It seemed that PNG would reach that target especially after a 76-run stand from Tony Urea (40) and Vani Morea (36).
But once that partnership was broken, Mustafa had other ideas and his spin variation caused problems with the south-western Pacific nation were all out for 148. Imran Haider (2-32), Ahmed Raza (1-18) and Mohammed Qasim (1-13) were among the wicket-takers.
“I knew it will difficult for them with the required run-rate going up all the time,” said Mustafa. “They had to go for some big shots against some of our quality spinners like Imran Haider and Ahmed Raza. Their players buckled under that pressure.”
For Brown, he was thrilled by the manner his players responded.
“We got ourselves into a fantastic position but there are always areas where you can do better,” said the 47-year-old. “From the position we were in (193 for 3 in 42 overs) we just added 52 runs in the remaining eight overs losing six wickets.
“I think Rohan and (Mohammed) Qasim need a lot of credit with the way they batted at the top to take us to 100 for none. The century from was an outstanding effort and I felt the total was very competitive.”
His opposite number, Dipak Patel admitted the best team won.
“It was an achievable target but all credit to UAE as they put pressure on us and we did not respond adequately,” said the PNG coach.