Chirag Suri
Opener Chirag Suri's half-century went in vain as the UAE lost the Asia Cup qualifiers to Kuwait. Image Credit: Courtesy: ACC Twitter

Dubai: UAE’s Asia Cup dream suffered a setback after suffering a shock loss in a thrilling qualifiers against Kuwait with one wicket and one ball to spare in Oman on Sunday. The victory ended Kuwait’s two-year barren run against UAE.

The UAE, under the new captain Chundangapoyil Puthiyapurayil Rizwan, failed to capitalise on the wonderful start given by Muhammed Waseem and Chirag Suri, after being put in to bat. Despite the wickets in hand, the UAE batters could not increase their tempo in the final overs to finish with an under-par score, which Kuwait managed to chase with just one ball to spare.

Honest assessment

UAE captain Rizwan, hit the nail on the head when he said his team had to be blamed for the loss.

“I would like to congratulate Kuwait for their extraordinary victory. To be honest, we have only ourselves to blame. We had our moments but were unable to grab those opportunities. We would have liked to start with a victory. We could have done better in the field. With the wickets in hand, we were short by about 15-20 runs, and this was crucial in the end.”

Edson Silva
All-rounder Edson Silva's cameo late in the innings helped Kuwait stun the UAE. Image Credit: Courtesy: ACC

After being 126 for one in 15 overs with Suri and the young Vriitya Aravind (33) putting on a crucial partnership, the UAE batters could not even score 50 runs off the last five overs, which cost them the match. Adding to their woes was the run out of the in-form batter Suri, who was could not beat an absolute bullet throw from the deep. That triggered a mini collapse and lost a few more wickets to end at 173 for 5 in 20 overs.

On the other hand, Kuwait did not waste any opportunity and went for the chase from the start and kept the asking rate under check. Openers Ravija Sandaruwan, Meet Bhavsar, Edson Silva and skipper Mohammaed Asalam all made valuable contributions despite UAE pegging back Kuwait with a couple of quick blows. Spinner Basil Hameed claimed two quick wickets and finished with a three-wicket haul.

Need to play to potential

“Now we have to try to win the remaining matches, but if we don’t play to our potential, we can only blame ourselves,” Rizwan cautioned.

Speaking about the victory a jubilant Kuwait skipper Mohammed Aslam said: “I have no words; this is a historic moment for Kuwait cricket. At this moment, the boys, the team management, and everyone on our team is incredibly happy.

“We have been attempting to win against UAE since 2020, We played against them previously on two occasions but were unable to win. This time we had planned our approach, and prepared by analysing all their players, and as a team we did well today.

“Our aim is to win our next two games and have the chance to play against teams like India and Pakistan.”