The UAE started their 2020 T20I World Cup campaign on a dismal note with a comprehensive seven-wicket defeat to neighbours Oman at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Dougie Brown’s men had been rocked by a match-fixing controversy just days before the start of the tournament and the absence of their suspended trio, including captain Mohammed Naveed, showed as they came out second best in all departments.
The hosts could muster just 108-9 after being made to bat first in Abu Dhabi with Oman cantering to victory with 10 balls to spare. It was Zeeshan Maqsood who claimed the winning runs, in emphatic style, with a six.
At the end of a one-sided affair in Group B, we look at the key talking points.
Lax start with bat costs hosts
UAE’s woes were mainly of their own making with the top-order batsmen guilty of throwing away their wickets to some lax shot-making.
While opener Ashfaq Ahmed was dismissed cheaply after a stunning catch at point by Aaqib Ilyas, his partner Chirag Suri looked good for a big score after getting off to an electric start.
Suri looked imperious in his brief stay at the crease but the same couldn’t be said of his dismissal, with his lazy chip towards mid-on being gobbled up comfortably by Mohammad Nadeem.
That it came off the very next delivery after Ghulam Shabbir’s run-out meant that the hosts had squandered the initiative to Oman inside the powerplay overs itself. Shabbir’s run-out was almost criminal with the left-hander nowhere in the picture following a direct hit by Khurram Nawaz.
The wicketkeeper batsman had only himself to blame after setting up for a suicidal single. From 30-3, it was always going to be a downhill battle for the hosts and it was a horror-start they never recovered from.
Brilliant Fayyaz and Bilal cut short UAE fightback
While the hosts never really recovered from their poor start with the bat, they would have hoped to make a significant late charge in the death overs with veteran Muhammad Usman setting starting to find his range.
However, any such hopes were dashed for good in the penultimate over with Oman pacer Fayyaz Butt grabbing three wickets in the space of four deliveries. He first outfoxed Waseem Ahmed through a clever change of pace, before ending the innings of the well-set Usman off the very next delivery.
UAE’s fading hopes were extinguished for good just moments later with Fayyaz having Sultan Ahmed caught behind by the wicketkeeper. From 102-5, UAE slumped to 104-8 with Fayyaz’s over taking the sting completely out of the tail.
In the final over, fellow pacer Bilal Khan got the better of Junaid Siddique to add to his two early scalps in the powerplay and cap off a fine bowling display.
Over 19 from Fayyaz Butt: 4 W W 1 W 1— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 18, 2019
Over 20 from Bilal Khan: 0 W 0 1b 0 2
The duo finish with three wickets each to keep UAE to 108/9. Good enough for a win?#T20WorldCup | #OMAvUAE | FOLLOW ⬇️https://t.co/K1xBqbDXtE pic.twitter.com/ymT0HV2kir
Solid Aaqib, Kaleem help Oman recover from early loss
Oman’s chase of a modest 109 on a slow track started on the backfoot with opener Khawar Ali falling for a duck after miscuing an attempted pull shot off Junaid Siddique.
The hosts were given more encouragement a few overs later with a well-set Jatinder Singh run-out by an excellent Waseem Ahmed throw from the deep.
However, that was as good as it got for UAE’s bowlers with Aaqib Ilyas and Aamir Kaleem putting on a well-executed 42-run stand for the third wicket. The two Oman batsmen batted sensibly at the crease in contrast to their UAE counterparts with Kaleem playing the role of aggressor while Aaqib performed the anchor role.
By the time Kaleem departed for a 19-ball 27, the target was just 28 runs away while the required rate had come down to manageable levels. That job was duly completed with Aaqib seeing the side home with an unbeaten 45 from 51 balls.
Comfortable win for Oman 👏— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 18, 2019
A solid batting effort backs up a stellar performance on the field as they beat UAE by seven wickets. #T20WorldCup | #OMAvUAE | SCORECARD ⬇️https://t.co/T4Tp9VQe8c pic.twitter.com/A8IlCZwzEJ
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The Abu Dhabi T10 League 2019 will be an eight-team affair with Team Abu Dhabi unveiled as the newest team for the upcoming tournament.
England’s 2019 World Cup winning coach Trevor Bayliss has been confirmed to take charge of the Abu Dhabi outfit with Moeen Ali set to join him as the side’s icon player.
The already star-studded line-up was bolstered even further in Wednesday’s player draft for the 2019 edition, with Pakistan pace ace Mohammed Amir becoming the side’s first pick.
The upcoming edition will be the third season of the T10 League which was previously held in Sharjah. The tournament moves to Abu Dhabi for the next five years after their organisers signed a five-year agreement with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
The profile of the league has grown exponentially in recent days with former England coach Andy Flower being roped in as the coach of Maratha Arabians.
Some of the big names who will turn up for the 2019 edition include Andre Russell, Eoin Morgan, Shoaib Malik, Hashim Amla, Kieron Pollard and Shane Watson.
“The fact that the government of Abu Dhabi has supported this event with a five-year agreement means it’s already bigger,” T10 chairman Shaji Ul Mulk was quoted as saying by The National.
“There is greater credibility and greater responsibility that comes with it.
“This year almost 500 players signed up for the player draft. The league is already much bigger than last year. It’s all about consolidating the position and delivering a product of the highest quality.”
The vast array of stars and internationals went under the hammer in the player draft on Wednesday with Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane being picked by Karnataka Tuskers.
Pakistan veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik was roped in by Delhi Bulls while his compatriot Mohammad Irfan went the way of Maratha Arabians. Windies all-rounder Pollard was snapped up by Deccan Gladiators while rising England star Tom Banton will turn out for Team Abu Dhabi in what is becoming a formidable English contingent for the newest outfit.
The 2019 edition is set to take place at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi between November 15 and 24.
Former UAE skipper Mohammed Naveed has spoken up for the first time after being provisionally suspended from cricket for multiple breaches of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.
The recently deposed captain was among three UAE national team players to be suspended by the ICC on Wednesday with the trio charged with 10 Anti-Corruption Code violations between them.
Naveed was charged with two ICC code and as many Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) anti-corruption code violations with the former pertaining to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
His first ICC breach came with regards to Article 2.1.1 of the Anti-Corruption Code which pertains to “contriving, or being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly, the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of matches in the upcoming ICC World T20 Qualifier.”
The second relates to Article 2.4.4 which relates to “failure to disclose to the ACU full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in conduct in relation to the ICC World T20 Qualifiers 2019 that would amount to corrupt conduct under the Code.”
Speaking to The National after being provisionally suspended from cricket with immediate effect, Naveed accepted to making a big mistake in not disclosing a suspicious approach from someone whom he believed to be an official of the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
A trio of UAE players have been provisionally suspended from cricket.https://t.co/yX7nB3MccI— ICC (@ICC) October 16, 2019
“I am very sincere about my game, I am very sincere about my career,” Naveed explained.
“I have been successful for the UAE around the world, in leagues, for franchises. That is because I am very sincere about my game. Now this has happened, I feel guilty. Why did I not talk to the board, why did I not talk to the ICC? It is my mistake, and I feel guilty.
“My family is let down, my friends are let down. Everybody is let down. This was my mistake.”
Qadeer Ahmed Khan and Shaiman Anwar Butt are the two other UAE players charged with anti-corruption violations and the suspended trio has two weeks to respond to the charges laid down by the ICC.
Naveed was due to lead UAE in the World Cup Qualifier but he, along with Ahmed and Anwar, had recently stood down from the initial squad for the tournament. No explanation was provided at the time for their withdrawals with Ahmed Reza appointed as skipper in Naveed’s stead.
UAE open their World Cup qualifying campaign on Friday when they take on neighbours Oman in the Group B opener in Abu Dhabi.