UAE fast bowler Mohammad Naveed continued his excellent form in the Afghanistan Premier League in Sharjah as he was among the wickets once again.
Naveed, playing for Kandahar Knights, picked up 2-10 from three overs as he helped his team defend a target of 137 against Nangarhar Leopards on Saturday.
He first got Kiwi opener Anton Devcich for a duck before dismissing middle order batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi for 23 to restrict the Leopards to 110 and secure a 26-run win.
It was the third match of the tournament for Naveed and he has picked up a wicket in all three games. He opened his campaign with 1-33 against Kabul Zwanan before picking up 2-34 against Paktia Panthers.
It was the maiden win of the tournament for Kandahar after four defeats.
His effort meant Afghan ace Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s 4-16 went in vain. The Leopards spinner had reduced Kandahar to 75-8 before a late charge by Karim Janat (40) added some respectability to the total.
Last week, Javed called UAE’s loss to Hong Kong in last month’s Asia Cup Qualifier final – a result that denied them a place in the showpiece event – as ‘unacceptable’. The 46-year-old also added the failure ‘showed there is a problem which must be attended urgently’.
When Javed left in May 2016 to take up a role with PSL franchise Lahore Qalandars, the UAE initially struggled. But under Dougie Brown’s reign since April 2017, they have become a competitive force in Associate cricket as well as registering their first victory over a Test nation against Zimbabwe and retaining ODI status until 2022.
But Mustafa expressed his disappointment to read the words from the 1992 World Cup winner, who guided the UAE to the 2014 World Twenty20, 2015 World Cup and 2016 Asia Cup in his four-year tenure.
“To be honest, it was wrong comments to say from a former coach,” said the 30-year-old. “I am not against him in any way because he helped me a lot in my development and during tough times. It wasn’t just me but he helped a lot of the other players in the squad. He made us improve as players. When you’re representing a country and you are captain of the country, you have more responsibility than other players. I think it was disappointing to read those comment because our performances recently haven’t been that bad.
“Cricket is a sport where you win and lose games. Hong Kong played well against India (in the Asia Cup). Does that mean India are not a good side? It wasn’t a good comment from him but I mentioned on Twitter, that he built the team and we are now working hard to achieve more targets.”
I disagree with the comments from our former coach.We r continously building on the standards he had set under the guidance of @dougie1brown.1bad day at office effected by rain isnt enough to judge the standards of players who are continously playing franchise cricket worldwide! https://t.co/8XTxxVDXCW— Rohan Mustafa (@rohanmustafa88) October 5, 2018
The UAE were already eliminated from the tournament after losing to Afghanistan and India but put up a brave show with the bat at Savar, Bangladesh on Wednesday.
Batting first, the UAE put up their highest score of the tournament with 268-8 in their 50 overs with Nawaz (83) leading from the front. He was well supported by Tandon (67) as the duo put on 159 runs for the opening stand.
However, the rest of the UAE struggled with the bat with the next best scores coming from Brandon Adam and Wasi Shah with 18.
In their chase, Nepal did not get off to the best of starts with two wickets falling inside the first seven overs. However, Rohit Kumar’s 91 proved to be decisive as Nepal reached their target in the 49th over.
Aryan Lakra and Aaron Benjamin took two wickets for the UAE.