UAE bring the fight
Hosts fall to New Zealand but prove their quality by claiming three skins
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.