Centurion Rameez Shahzad insists the UAE have ‘sent out a message to the rest of the teams’ of how dangerous they can be after they produced a battling effort with the bat in their 60-run World Cup Qualifier defeat to West Indies.
The UAE faced an uphill task of winning the match at Harare when tons from Chris Gayle (123) and Shimron Hetmyer (127) saw the West Indies set a mammoth total of 357-4 in their 50 overs.
Gayle rediscovered his form that has made him one of the most feared batsmen in the world scoring 123 form 91 deliveries including 11 sixes and seven fours. Hetmyer was even better with his knock coming from 93 balls (14 fours and four sixes).
But despite the gigantic target, the UAE pushed the two-time world champions all the way with Shahzad scoring an unbeaten 112 (nine fours and four sixes) as they reached 297-6.
West Indies captain Jason Holder took his second ODI five-wicket haul but he had no answer to Shahzad who was instrumental at the crease, sharing a 144-run stand with Shaiman Anwar (64) after the UAE found themselves 69-3.
Take a bow gentlemen 👊 🇦🇪 🏏 #UAE #Cricket dig in for the full 50 &, posting 297 (against 357), put in a seriously magnanimous effort v @westindies....— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) March 6, 2018
What a cracker from Rameez .....👏 💪 👉 https://t.co/C3VKrKCqRB @ICC #GoYouGoodThings #GoUAE @ANIBDXB @tykasports pic.twitter.com/SgsNmLfxz3
Despite the result, Shahzad feels the UAE can take a lot of positives from how they performed against the Caribbean side.
“It was a good wicket to bat on but at the same time they were bowling really well,” he said. “Once me and Shaiman kept going, our plan was to go until the 35th over but then was given out and so did (Mohammad) Usman.
“We then had to change our plan to try and make sure we get as close to the total and maintain a good run-rate.”
He added: “But we can take a lot of heart from how we played. We are talking about a performance against a Test-playing nation and two-time World Cup winners. We have gone so close to winning twice against them that if Gayle didn’t bat the way he did today and who knows the result might have been different.
“The most important thing is that this sends out a message to the rest of the teams in this competition that we are not just here to compete but to win matches.”
The UAE will look to get back to winning ways and boost their qualification to the Super Six stage with victory over Netherlands on Thursday.
In other results on Tuesday, Afghanistan (194 all out) suffered their second straight defeat after losing by two runs to hosts Zimbabwe (196), while Ireland (237-6) came out on top by four wickets against Papua New Guinea (235). Scotland (92-6) beat Hong Kong (91 all out) by four wickets in the other fixture.
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