UAE CELEBRATE NEPAL2-1647886362756
UAE players celebrate after pacer Junaid Siddique claimed a wicket against Nepal at the Dubai International Stadium on Monday. The pacer finished with a four-wicket haul. Image Credit: Courtesy; ECB

Dubai: The UAE fast bowlers have been doing a thankless job and deserve due credit for their tireless efforts, said an elated skipper Ahmed Raza after defeating Nepal by 99 runs in another low-scoring contest in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 at Dubai International Stadium on Monday.

“The trio of Junaid Siddique, Kashif Daud and Zahoor Khan have been doing a magnificent job. We ask them to get wickets up front and in the middle and also control runs at the death. It’s a thankless job. They don’t get much of the praise for the work they do,” Raza said after a two-month long campaign that saw the UAE clinch the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers in Oman apart from moving up to be second on the League 2 table with 22 points at the halfway stage.

Credit to their fitness

“They have been playing all the home games and also the World Cup qualifiers. They have played so many games with hardly any rest. Credit for them to keep their fitness and performance up,” he added.

Junaid and Kashif picked two each to push Nepal on the backfoot in the first powerplay and set the tone for win after another match-winning knock by the Rohan Mustafa, who has now made it a habit to score runs for UAE.

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Rohan Mustafa plays a sweep shot during his fourth half-century in his 50th One Day International against Nepal. Image Credit: Courtesy: ECB

The left-hander, playing his 50th ODI, scored his fourth half-century while crossing 1,000 runs, brought all his experience to the fore to score a battling 60 to give UAE a defendable total after the hosts lost three quick wickets.

The Chirag Suri and Muhammad Waseem put on 57 runs for the opening wicket before conceding the initiative back to Nepal with the few quick wickets.

Mustafa, after the 40 against Nepal in their previous encounter, had said he was not happy with the way he got out after getting a start and wanted to bat deep. He walked the talk with a knock of 88 against Papua New Guinea on Saturday and followed it up with another half-century to collect the player of the match award for the second time against Nepal. UAE’s under-19 skipper Alishan Sharafu, coming down the order, made his presence felt with a 21-run cameo off 13 balls.

Raza's landmark wicket

“Ronnie’s experience counts, especially when he could convert those starts to substantial scores. He fought his way and scrapped it out in the middle and expressed himself in the latter half. He got to a milestone in his 50th ODI, which is an achievement,” Raza added, who reached the 50-wicket landmark in ODIs when he dismissed Nepal’s Aarif Sheikh.

Coach Robin Singh too echoed similar sentiments. “Hats off to the fast bowlers. Junaid, Zahoor and Kashif all did a fantastic job. I am pretty happy with the way they have come out, considering the fact they have played almost all games to perfection.”

The former India all-rounder also praised Basil Hameed, Mustafa and Raza for their consistent efforts. “Basil bowled exceptionally well,” he added.

The UAE will take a well-deserved break as they will embark on their next assignment almost two months later.

Brief scores:

UAE beat Nepal by 99 runs. UAE 202 for 9 in 50 overs (Muhammad Waseem 33, Chirag Suri 26, Vriitya Aravind 24, Rohan Mustafa 60, Alishan Sharafu 21, Sompal Kami 2/44, Karan KC 2/36, Sandeep Lamichhane 3/32) Nepal 103 in 35.1 overs (Gyanendra Malla 30, Junaid Siddique 4/23, Kashif Daud 2/8, Ahmed Raza 2/21). Player of the match: Rohan Mustafa.