Abu Dhabi: Australia, riding on an unbeaten knock of 68 off 53 balls from opener D’Arcy Short, made light of UAE’s total of 117 to clinch the one-off T20 match by seven wickets at the Abu Dhabi Cricket’s Oval 1 on Monday.
“It’s definitely good to spend some time out in the middle and play UAE for the first time,” said Short, whose knock was laced with eight hits to the ropes.
The wickets to fall for Australia were of skipper Aaron Flinch (1), Chris Lynn (20) and Glen Maxwell (18) as Aussies chased down UAE’s total in 16.1 overs.
“Definitely they bowled well at the start and got us down for a couple of wickets. We couldn’t free our arms early. It was tough to get going and UAE held their own after losing wickets at the top,” said Short, adding that the runs would do a world of good to his confidence going into the contest against Pakistan on Wednesday.
“The match would given them an opportunity to see where their game is at and hopefully they would learnt from us. We also managed to do the same as they bowled well for their wickets at the start and definitely the game was worth it,” asserted Short, who had debutant Ben McDermott giving him company till the end on an unbeaten 10.
Electing to bat, UAE scorecard straightaway painted a sorry picture — debutant Ashfaq Ahmad (0), skipper Rohan Mustafa (0) without a run on board, with Nathan Coulter-Nile and Billy Stanlake doing the early destruction. Another debutant Chirag Suri tried to stem the rot with Rameez Shahzad and scored a watchful 13 before finding McDermott at covers off Stanlake.
Shaiman Anwar was in early and made his intentions clear by smashing a boundary off the first ball he faced. Aussies, however, didn’t let the hosts get away and kept them well under check and after 10 overs, UAE were just 42 for three.
Rameez Shahzad (22) and Anwar resurrected the innings but the UAE total kept moving at a snail’s pace and they only managed to reach 65 for 3 in 15 overs. Shaiman and Shahzad had put on a partnership of 53 for the fourth wicket by then. Shaiman then upped the tempo and went on to score 41 off 44 balls and Moahmmad Naveed scored an unbeaten 27 off 13 as UAE managed 52 in the last five overs to post a total of 117.
“As the most senior player in the team, had to show something and that’s what I didn’t when the team was in crisis. We didn’t start well and couldn’t go after the bowling straightaway the way I would have liked. We upped the run rate but I should have stayed till the end. Had we managed 150, it would have been interesting,” said Anwar, adding: “The Australians, from what I have gauged, is a good side and in a very positive frame of mind. They will definitely be giving Pakistan a tough challenge in the T20 series,” said Shaiman.
Debutant Amir Hayat, who claimed the key wickets of Finch and Lynn, was elated with his effort and revealed he had walked in with a plan.
“More than the wicket of Finch, I would say I will cherish the wicket of Lynn as I follow him very closely. Lynn I knew could get out to slower ones as he is my favourite player and I follow him closely. It clicked for me today, l would say. I didn’t think I was bowling to the Australian batsmen and played as if it was a domestic match,” said a beaming Hayat.