Dubai: The UAE will be completing their final preparations for the Twenty20 World Cup with the second match of the SkyExch Friendship Twenty20 Series at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday.
After narrowly losing the first clash against the Test-playing nation by seven runs, the UAE are eager to prove a point that they belong to the elite league. The way they fought against Bangladesh on Sunday is a proof that the UAE players are ready for the big fight but were undone by the stage and a huge number of fans turned up to the stadium to watch the match. Now the nerves of the UAE players would have eased considerably and are expected to be playing to their full potential.
“Looking forward to seeing how the younger guys stand up against Bangladesh, a Test-playing nation,” Robin Singh, Director of Cricket, Emirates Cricket Board told Gulf News after a training session on Monday. “We want to play a solid game and, of course, finish on the winning side.”
Sneaking through the fingers
The UAE allowed Bangladesh to sneak thorough their fingers and the credit for that should go to Mehdy Hasan Miraz and Afif Hosain, who gave their side the much-needed confidence ahead of the final game and in their path towards the Twenty20 World Cup.
UAE teenager Aayan Khan’s all-round show in his debut game, while 21-year-old leg-spinner Kathik Meiyappan’s two-wicket haul and opener Chirag Suri’s confident knock of 39 against the likes of Mustafizur Rahman are some of the highlights of the match. But their efforts went in vain as they could not nail the key moments. Their lack of experience against better opposition showed and caused them the match.
The hosts were in control of the game in the first 11 overs, when UAE restricted Bangladesh to 77 for five. But a dropped chance earlier off Afif allowed the left-hander to gain confidence and play his shots freely to remain unbeaten on 77. UAE pacers, who made early inroads, could not give the finishing touches to the innings and bowled several short deliveries that both Afif and skipper Nurul Hasan feasted on to push the score to 158 for five in 20 overs.
UAE began the chase in a positive fashion and the dew also assisted in negating the Bangladesh bowlers to a great extent. The loss of opener Suri in the eighth over had the hosts’ innings in disarray with all the following batters trying to play big shots when the asking rate was hovering around eight runs an over. It was only in the last few overs that the required runrate went 10, but by then UAE had lost eight wickets with the young Aayan Khan, who took a wicket in his first over in international cricket, leading the run chase in the company of Junaid Siddique.
UAE skipper CP Rizwan summed up the loss due to three factors — lapses in fielding, especially catching, death bowling, where lots of runs were conceded, and wrong shot selection.
“Fielding was the difference. Until the last few overs, Bangladesh fielding was spot on. Afif was dropped on two and he went on to make 77 not out, that made the huge difference. We need to focus on that as quality batters will make us pay for the lapses. Shot selection is another area we want to focus and along with it improve the death bowling, where we went for some runs,” said the skipper after the loss,
“We don’t get to play Test nation quite often and when we get so close it is slightly disappointing. But there are plenty of positives from the game, so looking forward to the next game and will come back stronger.”