Abu Dhabi: New UAE skipper Ahmad Raza is looking forward to some exciting contests in the ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers Group B matches, to be held in Abu Dhabi from this weekend.
Raza, who took charge from Mohammad Naveed as the skipper, also captained the UAE to an exciting 37-run win over Scotland in their first warm-up match.
“We are looking forward for an exciting tournament. I welcome all other teams here,” said Raza after lining up with the Group B captains at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Sunday night.
Being the host country, Raza is aware of the pressure on his team to win matches.
“We have the added aspiration of lifting the cup at home, but I don’t think that will bog us down — we are confident and hopefully that will show when the matches start,” said Raza. Speaking after the warm-up victory to Gulf News, Raza said: “We had a good win against Scotland in the warm-up tie. Things are looking really good and positive for us. Exciting two weeks are ahead of us.” Apart from captain Naveed, top batsman Shaiman Anwar and Qadeer Ahmad were dropped from the squad.
When Gulf News contacted Mubashar Usmani, general secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board, he said: “We will soon inform on the changes to the team. There has been an overhaul of the team. Right now we do not want to comment on it.”
Rameez Shezad top scored for the UAE against Scotland with an unbeaten 43 to help his team post 157 for five. Scotland were restricted to 120 for nine with pacer Waheed Ahmad taking three wickets for 18 runs.
Captains who lined up at the Zayed Cricket Stadium were Gary Wilson (Ireland), Zeeshan Maqsood (Oman), Aizaz Khan (Hong Kong), Navneet Dhaliwal (Canada), Charles Perchard (Jersey) and Ademola Onikoyi (Nigeria).
The UAE will meet Papua New Guinea next at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi today and start their qualifiers match by taking on Oman on Friday here.