The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have qualified for only their second ever ICC Twenty/20 Cricket World Cup after a 68-run victory over Nepal in the semi-finals of qualifier A in Oman yesterday.
UAE’s captain, left-arm, leg-spinner, Ahmed Raza led his team to victory with a maiden Twenty/20 International five-wicket haul as they secured a return to the ICC Twenty/20 Cricket World Cup for the first time since 2014.
Raza had never taken more than two wickets in a Twenty/20 International, but saved his finest performance for the most important of occasions yesterday.
After medium pacer, Junaid Siddique’s new ball burst decimated the Nepal’s top-order inside the first three overs to leave the score at 14-3 chasing a target of 176, Raza ripped the heart out of the Nepal middle order by claiming the two most prized wickets off consecutive deliveries in the 13th over.
Gyanendra Malla (20) drove a catch to Muhammad Waseem at long-on, and then had in-form vice-captain, Dipendra Singh Airee lbw for 38. At 83 for 6, Nepal were left deflated and Raza capitalised by ripping through the tail for three more wickets as Nepal were eventually bowled out for 107 in 18.4 overs.
The win was set up by another outstanding performance by the tournament’s leading scorer, 19-year-old, Vriitya Aravind, who destroyed the Nepal bowling attack after entering in the second over to score 46 off 23 balls, including five fours and three sixes. He dominated a 66-run partnership with Waseem before being dismissed in the eighth over.
The final scores: The United Arab Emirates 175-7 off 20 overs, Nepal 107 off 18.4 overs.
In yesterday’s second semi-final, the only full ICC member in the Tournament, Ireland beat Oman by 56 runs to also qualify for the ICC Twenty/20 Cricket World Cup.
The scores: Ireland 165-7 off 20 overs, Oman 109 off 18.3 overs.