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The UAE team will be facing England in the Under-19 World Cup at Basseterre later today. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A confident UAE are ready to take on Group A table-toppers England in their second match of the Under-19 World Cup later today.

“The boys are in much better shape and are excited to meet England against whom we had a very close encounter in the warm-up match earlier,” Najeeb Amar, UAE assistant coach, told Gulf News ahead of the match in Basseterre, taking the confidence from the practice game where an understrength UAE lost narrowly from a dominating position against England.

The UAE got off to a winning start, defeating Canada by 49 runs. England on the other hand must be high on confidence after defeating defending champions Bangladesh in their opener and then outplaying Canada to top the table with four points.

A victory in today’s clash will enhance UAE’s chances of making it to the next stage.

“The team is really motivated and have plenty of positive energy during the training session [on Wednesday]. All players are fit and are on top of the game physically and mentally. We are ready to execute our plans.”

The UAE will bank heavily on their experience in the Asia Cup, where they have encountered some of the best talents from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The three games we played [in the Asia Cup] here has made a lot of difference as this team didn’t play a lot of cricket before that. It is a good sign, good young guys and it’s really good for UAE cricket going forward,” said Robin, Director of Cricket, Emirates Cricket Board, after UAE defeated Canada.

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Indian team celebrate a wicket against Ireland. The Men in Blue, despite missing six players due to Covid protocol, eased to 133-run victory. Image Credit: Source: ICC twitter

Ali Naseer. who scored a destructive 73 off just 50 balls, captain Alishan Sharafu and Punya Mehra, who hit 71 against Canada, will all be hoping to extend their impressive run. The UAE will, however, be looking for a good start from the openers, especially Kai Smith, who was impressive during the Asia Cup.

In a late development on Wednesday, one India player tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently isolating and five others are also isolating as a precaution pending the results of PCR testing by the official event testing provider, an ICC statement said.

Despite the late shock, Indian outplayed Ireland to win by 133 runs.

“Tremendous show of character and maturity from the U-19 team. With just 11 players available for today’s game, to go out and express themselves the way they did was phenomenal. Can’t say how proud I am of them! The Ireland match is one they will cherish for life,” VVS Laxman, Director of NCA, tweeted.