Rohan Mustafa, as has so often been the case in the recent past, held the innings together as the national team secured a 13-run victory
Asia Cup Qualifier: UAE to face Hong Kong in final after tense win over Oman
UAE will get the chance to play for a place in the Asia Cup in Thursday’s qualifying final in Malaysia, after surviving a scare against Oman in their final pool stage match.
The national team needed a win against the previously undefeated Oman side to make it through. The managed it, claiming a 13-run win over their Gulf neighbours.
Having been invited to bat first on a damp wicket, the UAE batsmen struggled to find any fluency.
Rohan Mustafa, as has so often been the case in the recent past, held the innings together.
The captain made 71, while a late-overs rally by Abdul Shakoor and Mohammed Naveed meant the national team reached 208-8 from their 50 overs.
That might not have appeared an insurmountable total, but it was 48 more than UAE managed against Oman the last time the sides met.
They defended that score, in even more tense circumstances, at the World Cricket League Division 2 in February, when, realistically, their jobs were on the line.
As such, they would have been optimistic at doing the same this time around. Again, Oman had appeared well set, on 87-2, with opener Aqib Ilyas making 45.
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But the UAE bowlers were up to the task. Naveed, Mustafa and Amir Hayat took two wickets each, while in-form Ahmed Raza constricted Oman’s scoring rate with his left arm-spin, as they fell for 195.
Hong Kong will be the opponents in the final, after they scrambled to a win over Nepal.
Nepal succumbed to just 95, with Ehsan Khan’s 4-15 the best return for Hong Kong.
Despite the paltry total, Nepal nearly defended, thanks to heroics by teenaged leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.
The 17-year-old Delhi Daredevils player took 5-27 from 10 overs, but Hong Kong made it across the winning line with three wickets left.
It means UAE will get the chance to avenge the 182-run defeat they suffered at the hands of Hong Kong earlier in the pool phase.
The winners will line up alongside India and Pakistan in the pool stage of the main competition, which starts in Dubai on September 15.