2020 T20 World Cup Qualifier: UAE rattled by pace as Netherlands seal their place in the 'Big Dance'

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The Dutch are through to Australia. Image credit - T20WC/Twitter.

The UAE’s first chance to seal qualification for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia ended in a lopsided defeat with the Netherlands notching up a comprehensive eight-wicket win in the play-off clash in Dubai.

Batting first, UAE were made to rue a horrendous start and were ultimately restricted to a measly 80-9 in their 20 overs. The run-chase proved to be a walk in the park for the formidable Dutchmen, who scaled the target with as many as 29 deliveries to spare.

After the Dutch became the third team to qualify for the ‘Big Dance’, we look at the key talking points from Dubai.

Dutch pace attack rattles UAE

Netherlands have arguably the best pace attack among all associates and it showed against the UAE, whose top-order collapsed like a house of cards inside the first five overs.

Having lined up  four fast bowlers in their playing XI, the Dutch seized the initiative in the game straight away after UAE skipper Ahmed Raza elected to bat first in Dubai. Opener Rohan Mustafa was dismissed in the very first over after miscuing a Fred Klaasen shorter delivery with the bowler gobbling up the catch himself.

Paul van Meekeren then inflicted further misery in the next over with two wickets in as many deliveries to bring the UAE to their knees. Three UAE batsmen – Muhammad Usman, Rameez Shahzad and Darius D’Silva – bagged ducks with Brandon Glover joining in on the act for the Netherlands. Having been reduced to 9-5, the writing was well and truly on the wall for the hosts who never recovered from that early carnage.

Ben Cooper guides Dutch to the Big Dance after Mustafa lands early blow

Defending a paltry total of 80 was always going to be an uphill task for the hosts but they did give themselves a chance with the early wicket of Max O’Dowd.

Mustafa, who has been stellar with the ball throughout the tournament, was the bowler to give UAE the early breakthrough with a ripping off-spinner that sneaked past O’Dowd’s defence.

However, all that early optimism for Raza’s men was wiped out quickly with the experienced Ben Cooper holding fort for the Dutch. The left-hander forged a 51-run stand for the second wicket with Colin Ackermann, which all but sealed the win for the Netherlands. Zahoor Khan’s dismissal of Ackermann in the 10th over failed to turn the tide for the hosts with Cooper seeing the Dutchmen across the finish line with an unbeaten 41-run knock.

One last chance for the UAE

UAE will have one more shot at qualification. Image - T20 World Cup/Twitter

UAE will have one more shot at qualification. Image – T20 World Cup/Twitter

There’s no time to mope for the UAE with the hosts set to get a second bite of the cherry against Scotland on Wednesday. There is no shame in losing to the Netherlands, who have evidently been the second-best side on show in the tournament after Papua New Guinea. However, Raza and his men have to turn it around fairly quickly against the Scots who hold the advantage of having played of their several group-stage clashes in Dubai.

The UAE, meanwhile, had been camped in Abu Dhabi for their entire group-stage campaign and that could have played its part in their dismal showing at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. A win against Scotland on Wednesday would still mean qualification for the World Cup in Australia, but, a loss will be a painful end to a campaign that has been embroiled in controversy throughout.

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