UAE ignore World Cup Qualifier turmoil to beat Scotland in warm-up
The UAE responded to four days of turmoil with a morale-boosting win in their first official warm-up match ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
The national team beat Scotland, who are the top-ranked side in the qualifying tournament, by 37 runs at the Dubai International Stadium.
It was an impressive display by a side that had been enveloped by chaos since Mohammed Naveed, the captain and leading strike bowler, was stood down and withdrawn from the squad late on Thursday.
To exacerbate the problems, Shaiman Anwar, the highest-placed UAE batsman in the world T20 rankings, and the seam-bowler Qadeer Ahmed have also been removed from the squad.
It is understood that none of the trio are injured.
The controversy will linger for some time yet, with the Emirates Cricket Board maintaining their silence over the reason for the omission of the three players. The ICC have also said they will make no comment on the issue.
Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, said after the win over Scotland that he remains unable to speak on the matter, but that he was delighted by how his players had coped with the problems.
“Not at the moment, but I think it will become clear over the next two or three days,” Brown said when asked to clarify why the players had been left out.
“Clearly, it has been a difficult week for us, so it was lovely to get a win in the way we did, against one of the favourites for the competition.
“Today was a day about competing as best we could. We have a fairly clear strategy and everyone who is in the squad will know what the strategy is.
“While the people may change, the roles remain consistent. I think that has worked
really well for us coming in to this game today.”
There had been a rush to find replacements for Naveed, Shaiman and Qadeer when it became clear over the weekend they would be unavailable for the tournament.
Junaid Siddique, a fast bowler who was the direct bowling replacement for Naveed, and Waheed Ahmed, the replacement for his namesake Qadeer, have been training with the national team for some time now. Waheed took 3-18, and Siddique one wicket, as UAE restricted Scotland to 120-9.
Rameez Shahzad had top scored with 43 not out as the UAE had posted 157-5 from their 50 overs. The third new recruit, who did not feature against Scotland, had much further to travel.
Darius D’Silva, who was born in Dubai and spent many of his school years in the city, is now resident in Australia.
The university student had played a match in Western Australia on Saturday, then went directly to Perth Airport that night to travel to the UAE after the late call to join the squad.
The UAE will play their last warm-up match, against Papua New Guinea at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, this evening, before starting their Qualifier campaign against Oman on Friday.
UAE captain Ahmed Raza, centre, and Waheed Ahmed, right, celebrate in Dubai against Scotland.