Ahmed Raza hailed UAE captain Rohan Mustafa for his memorable performance in Tuesday’s win and says the team has the momentum going into their four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Papua New Guinea on Friday.
Mustafa, 28, stole the show at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium, with a century (109 runs) and five-wicket haul (5-25) in their 103-run triumph over PNG, which sealed a 2-1 ODI series victory.
His feat meant he became only the third cricketer to record such figures in an ODI match.
The teams meet again at the same venue tomorrow and Raza feels PNG should be worried about the skipper’s scintilating form.
“As a captain, he led from the front and that was good for him and good for the team,” said the 28-year-old spinner.
“This will surely pass on a message to Papua New Guinea that our captain is coming into the game on the back of a good performance.
“It’s something we can look up to and try to achieve similar performances in the games we play.”
Although the mood in the camp will be high, the UAE face a stern test to claim their first win in the longer format after four defeats.
The UAE are rooted to the bottom of the eight-team standings, while PNG sit fourth with two victories in four matches.
But Raza believes the ODI series triumph and practice matches against English counties last month will give them the belief that they can finally taste success in the four-day game. “Definitely the momentum is on our side and we have the upper hand,” said Raza, who took one wicket on Tuesday.
“Hopefully we can pull off a really good result. Our preparations have been good for this match because we have played a couple of games against Lancashire and Essex and they were really useful.
“Obviously that experience will help us for what will be a challenging match for us.”
Batsman Rameez Shahzad, meanwhile, is relishing the opportunity to test himself in the four-day game after scoring an unbeaten 74 in the team’s last match in this competition against Scotland.
“We’ve been changing our methods to the different formats,” said the 29-year-old. “We are all used to playing T20s as it’s the popular format in the domestic scene. But things have been going really well and with the experience that Dougie Brown (head coach) has, hopefully we can go out there and get the win.”
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