UAE bring the fight

Hosts fall to New Zealand but prove their qual­ity by claim­ing three skins

Sport360 - - Regional Indoor Cricket World Cup - By Den­zil Pinto @denz_360 den­

There was no re­peat of a UAE vic­tory against New Zealand yes­ter­day but the close de­feat gave cap­tain Saqib Nazir plenty of op­ti­mism that the men’s team can go far in the In­door Cricket World Cup.

At InS­portz Club in Dubai, there was no short­age of sup­port as more than 150 home fans gath­ered at Pitch 3 for the sec­ond meet­ing between the two sides in less than a week af­ter the UAE stunned the six­time run­ners-up on Mon­day.

But New Zealand, fea­tur­ing ex-Test player Jesse Ry­der, got their re­venge by win­ning 125-111 (26-30, 40-20, 23-24, 36-37).

With most rules sim­i­lar to the out­door game, each player bowled two overs and bat­ted as a pair for four overs. For each wicket that fell, the bat­ting team lost five points but the bats­man could still con­tinue un­til the al­lot­ted four overs (termed as skins) were over.

New Zealand claimed the three points for the win and they got an ex­tra point for win­ning the sec­ond skin (40-20) with skip­per Vic­tor Davies top-scor­ing with 25.

But there was some­thing to cel­e­brate for the UAE, who earned three points for win­ning three skins (30-26, 24-23, 37-36). Prashath Kumara was the top-scorer with 20 runs with Isuru Umesh tak­ing two wick­ets.

“Los­ing is not a good feel­ing on the in­side but we got three skins from a qual­ity side which no-one ex­pected. We be­lieve in our abil­i­ties and this team will go far I’m sure,” said Nazir, who be­lieves the team must im­prove their bowl­ing.

“With them scor­ing 125, I wasn’t re­ally sur­prised by our bat­ting per­for­mance. I’m re­ally happy that they be­lieved in them­selves and their abil­ity. We al­ways knew we are a qual­ity side and can chase any score.”

Be­fore a ball was even bowled, New Zealand copied their rugby counter-parts by per­form­ing the fa­mous Haka. While the rest of the crowd was stunned, Nazir ad­mit­ted it was some­thing they were ex­pect­ing.

“We wanted to do the UAE tra­di­tional dance but un­for­tu­nately, we wasn’t al­lowed to do it,” he joked.

“We got three skins from a qual­ity side which no-one ex­pected” – Nazir

Big hit­ter: Prashath Kumara top-scored for the UAE against New Zealand with 20 runs.

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