Rejuvenated UAE ready for playoff battle with Netherlands

Rejuvenated UAE ready for playoff battle with Netherlands

Abu Dhabi - Despite a difficult start to their campaign, the UAE's hopes of qualifying for next year's T20 World Cup in Australia is still alive



By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 28 Oct 2019, 7:54 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 Oct 2019, 10:01 PM

It was only in August that the UAE whitewashed the Netherlands in their own backyard.
Now these two teams will lock horns again on Tuesday in the first Qualifying playoff at the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Dubai.
Despite a difficult start to their campaign, the UAE's hopes of qualifying for next year's T20 World Cup in Australia is still alive.
The road so far has been littered with potholes for the home side.
Few big names were suspended in ICC corruption probe before the start of the tournament. And then one player left the squad without informing the team management during the tournament.
Despite having to play with a depleted squad, the UAE faced a must-win clash against Canada on Sunday.
But a sensational match-winning innings of 89 from Muhammed Usman kept the UAE's dreams alive and offered a glimmer of hope amid doubts, fears and despair.
Usman's effort was well complemented by the bowlers and efficient execution of game plan.
"This shows the character of the whole dressing room. We have fought very hard to reach this stage. We didn't start very well (with the loss to Oman) and then we had the Jersey hiccup (another defeat by 35 runs). And after all that to go through to the playoffs, I am a very pleased man. We have a great win, but there are two more hurdles to cross," skipper Ahmed Raza said in a post-match press conference.
Raza was all praise for Usman's rescue effort which helped the UAE post a competitive total of 154 after losing their first two wickets in the second over.
"Usman batted beautifully. It was one hell of a T20 innings. I don't think we have seen a better T20 knock by a player in the UAE colours. Usman planned his innings very well and knew which bowlers he needed to target."
The skipper said his team was capable of making the adjustments as they would now play the next rounds in Dubai after playing their group games in Abu Dhabi.
"Our pre-tournament camp was in Dubai. We played a lot of games in Dubai. So it's not going to be very different. The players are looking forward to playing in Dubai," he said.
Meanwhile, the event technical committee of the T20 World Cup Qualifier has approved replacements for the UAE players Ashfaq Ahmed and Ghulam Shabber.
Faizan Asif - a left-handed opening batsman who played in the last ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier in Ireland and Scotland four years ago - will replace Ashfaq.
Ashfaq has been provisionally suspended by the Emirates Cricket Board in relation to an ongoing corruption probe.
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com

TODAY'S MATCHES

UAE v Netherlands (2:10pm)
Dubai
Oman v Namibia (7:30pm)
Dubai 
 


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