Dubai: The victorious UAE team that lifted the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Western Region T20 trophy in Oman on Thursday are eyeing for a slot in the Asia Cup 2020 to play alongside the top five giants of Asian cricket. Full members India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and one qualifer will play in the Asia Cup scheduled for September.
Speaking to Gulf News, UAE captain Ahmad Raza, said: “We have won the tournament without losing a match. Winning should be a habit and I am glad we are into that habit as a team. It was a clinical performance with we doing well in batting, fielding and bowling. We want to continue this performance.”
The UAE have now reached the Asia Cup qualifier to be contested in August in Malaysia just before the Asia Cup scheduled for September. UAE will take on the qualifiers from the ACC Eastern Region tournament which commences from February 29 till March 6 in Thailand.
“The way forward is to identify the area we need to work on though focus will shift to 50-over cricket as we fly to United States to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 matches in April. Our squad was a mix of youth and experience in Oman and all the seniors stepped up and the debutants too could contribute that helped us emerge the champions. We played the perfect game in the final (against Kuwait) which was due from us. We want to continue this winning streak.” added Raza.
The UAE captain is delighted with the way the team batted. “The way we batted was wonderful, Chirag (Suri) and Rohan (Mustafa) gave us a good solid start and then Waheed (Ahmad) hitting all sixes lifted the target. We bowled exceptionally well to put Kuwait under immense pressure. Sultan and I bowled in the middle overs made things very difficult for Kuwait.”
Raza revealed the Asia Cup qualifier in Malaysia will be intensely fought. “It will be a four team tournament with UAE and Kuwait from Western region and the two team from the Eastern Region tournament.” If the UAE can win the qualifier as the sixth team for the Asia Cup, they may get to play against the strong India and Pakistan teams.