Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Ahmed Raza believes UAE can recover from crushing Netherlands defeat in T20 World Cup qualifier

Hosts only managed to score 80-9 in first qualifying playoff in Dubai

Ahmed Raza is confident UAE can recover from their heavy loss to the Netherlands in time to take their one final chance at qualifying for the T20 World Cup.

The national team crashed out of the running to win the qualifier tournament itself when they subsided to an eight-wicket loss to the Dutch on Tuesday.

However, they can still achieve their primary goal – to make it to the World Cup.

They face a last-chance eliminator against Scotland at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

The winners will take the fifth of the six places in the tournament in Australia next year, while the losers will end with nothing.

Raza believes the positives of having no time to dwell on the disappointing display against the Dutch outweigh the fact they will have to play a second match in succession in the heat of the day.

“If you have a few days off, you keep thinking about the loss, so it should work in our favour,” Raza, the UAE captain, said.

“My style of captaincy is that I don’t talk much after a loss, and I don’t think it is very healthy to do that.

“We are professional cricketers. We know where we lack, we know the intent we need tomorrow, and we can only talk about positives.

“After a loss, it is very easy to point fingers, or look at the bad things.

"Personally, I think it is better to just let it go. We need to turn up tomorrow and have another crack at it.”

The fact Raza himself top scored – with 22, coming in at number eight – against the Netherlands was a clue to the problems faced by UAE.

The top order had been blown away by outstanding seam bowling by Paul van Meekeren, who ended with two for 13, and Brandon Glover, who was named player of the match after taking 4-13.

UAE only managed to cobble together 80-9 from their 20 overs, which the Dutch chased with ease, as they booked their trip to Australia – and a qualifier semi-final against Ireland.

The hosts are at least able to remind themselves that they had recent success against Scotland, on the same strip of turf, too.

UAE were comfortable winners against the Scots in an official warm up match in Dubai before the start of the qualifier, but Raza said it will have little bearing on Wednesday’s eliminator.

“That will be part of the motivational speech which will be given,” Raza said.

“But this is a new day. Those were warm ups, we were playing our full squad, and so were Scotland.

“That result won’t impact tomorrow’s game. We have to turn up and play good cricket to be victorious and clinch that last spot.”

Raza acknowledged that he had “misread the pitch” against the Netherlands.

After winning the toss and opting to bat first, the UAE were quickly 4-4 and then 9-5, and the game was as good as over.

The pitch had been entirely different in character to those on which the UAE practiced in the lead up to the tournament, and Pieter Seelaar, the Dutch captain, acknowledged he would have batted first, too.

“It wasn’t the wicket we would have expected in Dubai,” Seelaar said.

“There was a lot of carry, and a little bit of nip early on.

“Regardless of the wicket, the way our seamers have been bowling was fantastic to see.

“To have carry like that, playing against a team like UAE, who don’t really fancy that sort of stuff, was fantastic to see.”

Meanwhile, in the second match of the day in Dubai, Namibia became the fourth team to clinch their place at the World Cup. A rapid half-century by JJ Smit set the platform for their 54-run win over Oman.

Like their neighbours UAE, Oman also now face a last-chance eliminator on Wednesday, against Hong Kong.

Updated: October 29, 2019 11:04 PM

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