The Emirates Cricket Board has announced the team that will represent the UAE in the 2019 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers.
The UAE have been drawn into Group B alongside Ireland, Oman, Hong Kong, Canada, Jersey and Nigeria. All UAE’s pool matches will be played at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, with the tournament starting on Friday, October 18, and their first game coming against Oman (19:30 local time).
Waleed Bukhatir, Emirates Cricket board member and chief selector said: “Our goal in this tournament is to finish top of our pool and secure direct qualification into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia. We are confident in our side’s abilities to help make this a reality.”
On being tournament hosts Bukhatir added: “Emirates Cricket Board is exceptionally proud to be hosts of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers.
“We are delighted to be able to welcome 14 exceptionally talented cricketing nations to the United Arab Emirates, and to the world-class facilities on offer in Abu Dhabi at Zayed Cricket Stadium, the ICC Academy and the Dubai International Stadium.
“We wish all teams an enjoyable tournament and encourage the cricket-loving community to take advantage of the great weather and free entry to watch what will be 15 days of scintillating cricket across three outstanding venues.”
UAE squad: Muhammad Naveed (capt), Rohan Mustafa, Ashfaq Ahmed, Rameez Shahzad, Shaiman Anwar, Muhammad Usman, Muhammad Boota, Zawar Farid, Ghulam Shabbir, Ahmed Raza, Sultan Ahmed, Imran Haider, Qadeer Ahmed, Chirag Suri, Zahoor Khan
UAE captain Mohammad Naveed is on a high after leading his team to a 4-0 T20 series sweep in Netherlands and credited new batting coach Monty Desai for making an immediate and positive impact.
The UAE got the better of Associate cricket heavyweights Netherlands at Amstelveen and The Hague, defending and chasing successfully twice.
The star performer of the series for the UAE was opener Ashfaq Ahmed who hit three fifties in four games and even took a wicket in the final match.
Other players too put their hands up when the team needed them, like former skipper Rohan Mustafa who picked up eight wickets across three matches.
All in all, it was a clinical effort from the UAE as they defended targets of 182 and 153, while chasing down 137 and 151 successfully.
Captain Naveed lauded the collective effort of the team and singled out Ashfaq’s consistency and the all-round potential of debutant Zawar Farid.
“Our goal was to go and win against a top Associate team; we just swept them. The conditions suited them but each member of our team performed when given a chance,” Naveed told Sport360.
“Ashfaq made it a one-man show. Zawar was outstanding. He can play anywhere. Zawar can open the batting, play in the middle or lower order. He can open the bowling and bowl with the old ball. If you ask me, I will say I want him. He can play in any conditions.”
One big difference this time was the team’s batting, which didn’t falter under pressure batting first or second. And that, Naveed said, was down to the sensible and precise work put in by new batting coach Monty Desai in the short space of time he has been associated with the team.
Desai has worked with teams like Zimbabwe, Nepal, Afghanistan and Canada while also being an important part of IPL franchises Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Lions. Desai was confirmed as UAE batting coach earlier this month and Naveed credited him for making an immediate impact.
“Our new coach, Monty… the boys have benefited from him greatly. Batting was our problem, our bowling was always strong. Monty has fine-tuned the game of the batsmen and the players have responded very well. Next week our camps starts and he will work more on the batsmen,” the seam-bowling skipper said.
“He is sensible and has worked with some big teams. He knows what the boys need, when and where to train, what type of shots to hit. The feedback from the batsmen is very good.”
What fills Naveed with even more pride is that the team has bounced back from off-field issues late last year that led to the brief suspension of three players and resulted in a change of captaincy.
“After the changes in team and captaincy, the boys have come together and the results are improving. It is a good sign that our players are so skilled that we can sweep a side like Netherlands,” Naveed concluded.
UAE’s next big assignment is the World T20 qualifiers in the country in October. Following the unfortunate suspension of Zimbabwe cricket, chances of UAE have automatically improved and the results against the Dutch are a massive boost.
UAE took a winning 3-0 lead in the four-match T20 series against Netherlands on Tuesday following a 14-run win.
Batting first at Sportpark Westvliet, The Hague, UAE were powered by another substantial knock by opener Ashfaq Ahmed who hit 56 from 41 balls to lay the foundation of a competitive total of 152-8.
Almost the entire top and middle order reached double figures but only Ashfaq made it count. The opener hit a fifty in the opening T20 and followed that up with 25 in the second.
For the Dutch, Sebastiaan Braat was the best bowler with figures of 3-26 from his four overs, which included the scalp of Ashfaq. Opening seamer Hidde Overdijk took 2-23 while spinner Pieter Seelaar had another fruitful outing, picking up 2-21.
In reply, UAE bowlers stayed on top throughout the 20 overs. Opener Max O’Dowd hit his second fifty from three games but his 65 from 54 balls was not enough as the team could only reach 138-9.
Seamer Qadeer Ahmed gave nothing away, finishing with 2-18 from his four overs while former skipper Rohan Mustafa took 3-30 with his off-spin.
UAE had won the first T20 by 13 runs and the second by five wickets. The fourth and final match of the series will played at The Hague on Thursday.