Raza salutes history-making UAE U19 boys for showing mental toughness and self-belief

Defeating Pakistan to reach Asia Cup final is a watershed moment for cricket in the Emirates

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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UAE players celebrate their  win against Pakistan during the ACC Men's U19 Asia Cup 2023 semifinal held at the ICC Academy Ground No 2, Dubai, UAE on December 15, 2023. - Photo by:  Asian Cricket Council
UAE players celebrate their win against Pakistan during the ACC Men's U19 Asia Cup 2023 semifinal held at the ICC Academy Ground No 2, Dubai, UAE on December 15, 2023. - Photo by: Asian Cricket Council

Published: Fri 15 Dec 2023, 7:28 PM

Assistant coach Ahmed Raza has attributed the UAE’s sensational 11-run victory over Pakistan in the Asian Cricket Council U10 Asia Cup semifinals on Sunday to their mental toughness and self-belief.

Invited to bat first at the ICC Academy in Dubai, UAE were dismissed for a modest total of 192 runs in 48.3 overs. However, backed by some disciplined bowling and inspirational work on the field, the hosts dismissed the visitors for 182 with three balls to spare.

They will take on Bangladesh in Sunday’s final in a bid to make more history, Bangladesh defeated India by four wickets in the other semifinal.

This is a watershed moment for UAE cricket as the no team previously, at the senior or junior level, has reached the final of a top-tier tournament.

Raza, former UAE captain and Assistant Coach of the U19 team put the team’s latest accomplishment into perspective.

“This is a historic moment for our boys, they just keep getting better and better,” Raza told Khaleej Times: “We have now beaten two Asian giants (Sri Lanka, Pakistan)

“This goes to show that the standard of the Asian game is now so high and competitive. We are proving it with our performances and mental toughness.

“The hard work that they have put in behind the scenes goes to show the fight and character they have shown in two low-scoring encounters,” he added. “We had the self-belief. You don’t win such games unless you have the belief. I am super proud of these boys.”

Batting first the UAE innings was shored up by Aryansh Sharma’s disciplined knock of 46-run knock, while Aayan Afzal Khan struck an explosive 55 off 57 balls, including seven fours.

Middle-order batsman Ethan D'Souza also weighed in with a useful 37 which helped the side maintain a healthy run rate all through the innings.

Ubaid Shah was the standout bowler for Pakistan with his four for 44 spell.

In response, Pakistan's innings was riddled with disappointment as they lost Shamyl Hussain for a duck in the very first over. Saad Baig and Azan Awais brought some stability to the innings with scores of 50 and 41, respectively, but UAE’s bowlers maintained the pressure.

Fast bowler Ayman Ahamed’s two claimed two crucial wickets towards the end to dismantle Pakistan's chase.

Amir Hassan kept Pakistan in sight of the target with a 27-run effort, but once he fell in the 45th over, the pendulum swung in favour of the UAE.

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Brief scores

Semifinals ICC Academy Ground, Dubai

UAE U19: 193 all out in 47.4 overs

Pakistan U19: 182 all out in 49.3 overs.


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