Rohan mustafa
UAE batter Rohan Mustafa used all his experience to score a battling 40 against Nepal. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: It was the turn of veteran Rohan Mustafa and CP Rizwan to lead UAE to a 48-run win over Nepal in a low-scoring contest and strengthen the hosts’ position in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.

“This knock is great for my confidence to do well in the upcoming matches,” said former skipper Mustafa, who was adjudged player of the match for his battling 40 late in the order. Mustafa’s unbeaten 23 went in vain against Oman earlier this month after UAE lost by eight runs from a winning position.

So has he made amends to that miss?

“I should have finished that game as well. To lose from that situation against Oman was hurting me for two to three days. Sometimes you do mistakes, I should have not allowed Junaid to take strike. These kind of chances I got earlier also but I didn’t capitalise on it. Even today I am not convinced about my game. I should have scored more than 50 and taken my team to about 220,” the left-hander said echoing his captain Ahmed Raza’s words.

Wrong situation

Both Mustafa and Rizwan got out after getting their starts and could have taken their individual scores and the team score higher if they had not got out at the crucial stage.

“Their partnership steadied the ship. At one stage we were looking to score 220-230, but they will be the first to tell you that they were disappointed with the way they got out and the stage they got out,” said Raza.

Electing to bat first, the hosts ran into early pressure and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. None of the UAE batters could reach the 50-run mark and were bowled out for 168 in 46.3 overs.

Nepal’s chase ran into rough weather with pacer Junaid Siddique steaming in and getting two early wickets. But Nepal managed to get their chase back on track and were 106 for 5 at one stage with 62 runs needed in 20 overs with five wickets in hand.

Triple strike

But the visitors blinked and the UAE sneaked in three wickets, including Rohit Paudel. Three wickets in a space of eight balls, one by Zahoor Khan and two by Basil Hameed, literally took the match away from Nepal, who were bundled out for 120 in 35.1 overs.

“It’s good cricket wicket 230-240 wicket, certainly not a 170 wicket. We have to blame ourselves for not getting the total that would have given us the comfort to defend. Hats off to the bowlers and the way we fielded — Chirag effecting a brilliant run out, Basil and Waseem pulling off few stunners — gives you a different energy when you are defending a below par score. It’s always a special win. It’s easy to defend a 250 or a 300. These wins you will never forget,” Raza added.

“As a fielding team you want to take a couple of wickets to put pressure on the opponents. We did pretty well in that sense. We have retained the same XI for the six or seventh game as our bowlers and batters have been performing consistently. May tomorrow is a good day for our batters,” Raza said as he looked forward to the clash against PNG at Dubai International Stadium. The win has moved UAE to 20 points and will be eager to extend their winning ways.

Brief scores:

UAE beat Nepal by 48 runs. UAE 168 in 46.3 overs (Muhammad Waseem 21, Chundangapoyil Rizwan 40, Rohan Mustafa 40, Sompal Kami 4/39, Karan KC 3/16) Nepal 120 in 35.1 overs (Gyanendra Malla 28, Rohit Paudel 46, Junaid Siddique 3/18, Basil Hameed 4/15). Player of the match: Rohan Mustafa.