Dubai: The Emirates D-10 tournament which ushered competitive cricket back in the UAE, threw up some good talent on the show, according to the UAE senior team skipper Ahmed Raza. In the final played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday evening, the experienced ECB team led by Raza scored a six-wicket victory against Fujairah Pacific Ventures by six wickets.
‘‘It felt great to be back in action after nearly five months. In the first couple of games, we were honestly quite rusty because we hadn’t played any competitive cricket in a while. The standard of cricket was amazing and we were involved in about three to four nail-biting finishes,’’ said the UAE veteran.
Looking at the takeaways from the 10-day long tournament which saw 34 matches being played in a 10-overs-each side format, Raza told Gulf News: ‘‘It will be wrong if we says winning the tournament did not matter to us but it gave us an opportunity of looking at different players. Thanks to the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) and the ITW Sports for doing live the live telecast of the matches.’’
Cricket is back with a bang in the UAE. The D10 tournament was a big hit for us
Raza reserved special words of praise for from young Vriitya Aravind, Umair Ali, Waseem Mohammed (tournament’s topscorer with 453 runs from 13 matches) and Syam Ramesh among others. ‘‘I will speak to the coach to see if we can try to get them involved in future camps depending on what format we will be playing in the future. The senior players also pitched in with match-winning knocks at the back-end of the tournament, like Rohan Mustafa, Mohammad Boota and Sultan and Ayaz with the ball,’’ he said.
Sent into bat on a wicket with a hint of green, the Fujairah team’s batting line-up never got going as their innings ended at 92 for six wickets off their quota of 10 overs. Opener Waseem Mohammed could not get going for a change as he fell for only seven runs.
The team was struggling at 51 for six wickets in the seventh over, till Luqman Hazrat played a cameo effort of 30 off 14 balls (one four and three sixes) to take the score past 90-mark.
Chasing a reasonable target of 92, ECB Blues were off to a disastrous start - losing their top three of Chirag Suri, Vriitya Aravind and Mustafa with only 16 runs on the board. The lower middle order played some responsible cricket as Mohammad Usman (30 not out) and Man of the Final Boota (31) took them over the line off the last ball.
‘‘Cricket is back with a bang in the UAE. It was a big hit for us,’’ Raza added.