The UAE emerged champions of the World Cricket League Division Two and, most importantly, earned a berth in next month’s World Cup Qualifier.
Here, we look at three things learned from the tournament.
Confidence was high as they thrashed Kenya by 218 runs in their opening match of the tournament. But in the space of three days and two successive defeats to Canada and Nepal, the UAE were in real danger of missing out on reaching the World Cup Qualifier and ODI status. Another loss would have not only have seen them exit the tournament, but have serious implications to the Emirates Cricket Board. With no ODI status, the ECB would lose out on ICC funding, which has been crucial to the team’s development, especially for their central contracts roster. With plenty riding on the games, the UAE delivered when it really mattered and that too under pressure to not only win the tournament, but advance to the Qualifier.
Rohan Mustafa is captain Marvel
Before a ball was even bowled, the 29-year-old all-rounder said it would be “pretty special” as skipper to help the UAE reach the next stage. The team has been resurgent under his captaincy in the last 12 months but when it mattered the most, he made it count. As opening batsman, he finished as his team’s third highest run-scorer with 183 runs, but it was with the ball where he really shone. His 13 wickets was his team’s best in the competition and when the pressure was on in the death overs, he took charge and led by example.
All-round team effort
Head coach Dougie Brown singled out each and every player who deserved credit for their fine achievement and rightly so. Ashfaq Ahmed scored his maiden international century as he finished second highest run-scorer with 237 runs. Ghulam Shabbir showed he’s not just handy behind the stumps with vital runs, most notably his 63-run knock in the thrilling Oman victory. Shaiman Anwar and Rameez Shahzad came together with a 120-run stand against Namibia, while Amir Hayat, Ahmed Raza and Mohammed Naveed all took key wickets. The list goes on for what was a remarkable team effort.
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