Dubai: Skipper Muhammad Waseem is not worried about the draw that pits UAE against Sri Lanka, Ireland, Scotland and Oman in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, and says he is focused on his team’s potential and not looking at his rivals.
“I am happy with the way the team is playing now and my boys are in the best shape and we will play our best cricket,” the UAE opener, who time and again has showed his big-match credentials in international arena, told Gulf News.
Batting regains the touch
“We have very good talent and are confident about the World Cup qualifiers. We will try and put our good effort in the qualifiers. We play to our potential and win as many matches,” he added.
The UAE, who got back into the groove by booking a place in the Qualifier through the Play-off, where the batting lived up to its potential, which also enabled the team to retain their One-Day International status. Subsequently UAE made it to the final of the ACC Premier Cup, losing to Nepal in the last hurdle. But the event saw all the top batters getting big runs.
UAE will play a three-match One-Day International series against two-time World Cup winners West Indies, beginning in Sharjah on June 4.
“The West Indies series is a big opportunity for us to show our potential against the top nations. I will try to play my natural cricket, however I will have to adapt my game according to the situations,” said Waseem, who emerged as the best UAE player in the inaugural International League Twenty20 earlier this year.
Ten teams will feature in the Qualifiers to be hosted by Zimbabwe from June 18 to July 9 with two finalists booking their places in the 50-over World Cup 2023 in India, which gives them nine guaranteed matches at ODI global showpiece.
The teams are split into two groups of five teams each. Hosts Zimbabwe, the West Indies, the Netherlands, Nepal and the United States make up Group A, while Sri Lanka, Ireland, Scotland, Oman and UAE form Group B.
Each side will play the other teams in their group once with the top three from each group progressing to the Super Six stage. In the Super Six, they will play the sides they did not meet in the group stage.
All points won in the group stage will be carried over to the Super Six stage apart from those gained against the teams that failed to make it to the Super Six stage. The finalists will both progress to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
UAE will face Sri Lanka in the opener on June 19 and senior all-rounder Rohan Mustafa feels the team has the potential to upset Test-playing nations and took solace from UAE leg-spinner Karthik Meiyappan’s hat-trick against the Island nation when the two sides met in the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers in Australia in October last year.
“It will be a tough tournament for us, but we have some seniors who have to put their hands up and take the team forward. Playing against Sri Lanka will be difficult, but it is not that we can’t beat them. On a good day if one of us score big runs and if we could do something spectacular like what Karthik did with a hat-trick, then we could win the contest. We have the players and we believe we can do it,” Mustafa added.
For the first time in this tournament, DRS will be used for all matches from the Super Six stage onwards.
The Qualifier is the culmination of four years of hard-fought competition that brings together the bottom five teams from the ICC Men’s CWC Super League, three automatic qualifiers from the ICC Men’s CWC League 2 and two teams who gained entry from the ICC Men’s CWC Qualifier Play-off. The UAE will also play two warm-up games against Nepal on June 13 and West Indies on June 15 in Zimbabwe.
ICC Chief Executive Geoff Allardice, in a statement, said: “The countdown to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is entering the final stages and this event presents an incredible opportunity for teams to earn a place in the pinnacle event of one-day cricket. The stakes don’t get any bigger in what will be a very competitive event enjoyed by fans looking to see who will join the eight teams that have already booked their tickets to India.
“With two former Men’s Cricket World Cup champions among the contenders as well as emerging cricket nations who are aiming to qualify for the first time, this unique event, featuring teams from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe will be a showcase of the global game.”
World Cup Qualifier fixtures (start time 11am UAE)
Zimbabwe v Nepal, Harare Sports Club
West Indies v USA, Takashinga Cricket Club
Sri Lanka v UAE, Queen’s Sports Club
Ireland v Oman, Bulawayo Athletic Club
Zimbabwe v Netherlands, Harare Sports Club
Nepal v USA, Takashinga Cricket Club
Ireland v Scotland, Queen’s Sports Club
Oman v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club
West Indies v Nepal, Harare Sports Club
Netherlands v USA, Takashinga Cricket Club
Sri Lanka v Oman, Queen’s Sports Club
Scotland v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club
Zimbabwe v West Indies, Harare Sports Club
Netherlands v Nepal, Takashinga Cricket Club
Sri Lanka v Ireland, Queen’s Sports Club
Scotland v Oman, Bulawayo Athletic Club
Zimbabwe v USA, Harare Sports Club
West Indies v Netherlands, Takashinga Cricket Club
Sri Lanka v Scotland, Queen’s Sports Club
Ireland v UAE, Bulawayo Athletic Club
Super 6: A2 v B2, Queen’s Sports Club
Super 6: A3 v B1, Queen’s Sports Club
Playoff: A5 v B4, Takashinga Cricket Club
Super 6: A1 v B3, Harare Sports Club
Super 6: A2 v B1, Queen’s Sports Club
Playoff: A4 v B5, Takashinga Cricket Club
Super 6: A3 v B2, Harare Sports Club
Super 6: A2 v B3, Queen’s Sports Club
Playoff: 7th v 8th Takashinga Cricket Club
Super Six: A1 v B2, Harare Sports Club
Super Six: A3 v B3, Queen’s Sports Club
Playoff: 9th v 10th Takashinga Cricket Club
Super Six: A1 v B1, Harare Sports Club
Final, Harare Sports Club
West Indies v Scotland, Harare Sports Club
Zimbabwe v Oman, Takashinga Cricket Club
Nepal v UAE, Old Hararians Cricket Club
Sri Lanka v Netherlands, Queen’s Sports Club
Ireland v USA, Bulawayo Athletic Club
Nepal v Oman, Harare Sports Club
West Indies v UAE, Takashinga Cricket Club
Zimbabwe v Scotland, Old Hararians Cricket Club
Ireland v Netherlands, Queen’s Sports Club
Sri Lanka v USA, Bulawayo Athletic Club.