The UAE lost to Australia in their historic Twenty20 international clash at the Abu Dhabi Cricket Oval on Monday, but they impressed their illustrious opponents in the process.
Opener D'Arcy Short, whose unbeaten 68 guided Australia to a seven-wicket win over Dougie Brown's side, said he and his teammates had found it tough going against the home bowlers in a fixture set up to help them prepare for their three-match T20 series with Pakistan that starts on Wednesday.
“They definitely bowled well at the start and got us down for a couple of wickets so we couldn’t free our arms early," he said. "It was tough to get going and they held their own at the top.”
Monday was the first time the UAE had played one of cricket's leading nations in a T20 match on home soil and they overcame losing two wickets in the first seven balls of their innings to put in a competitive showing against the Australians.
They made 117-6 in their 20 overs, but Australia prevailed on 119-3.
Though beaten, UAE coach Dougie Brown said he felt his side had shown good character.
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"We didn’t get off to the best start and we had to work very hard to get back to the game as they bowled and fielded exceptionally well which a top team would do,” he said.
The UAE had looked in serious trouble when they slipped to 0-2 after winning with toss, with Ashfaq Ahmed and captain Rohan Mustafa both dismissed.
But Shaiman Anwar led the fightback with 41 off 44 balls, which included three boundaries and two sixes.
He put on 53 for the fourth wicket with Rameez Shahzad (22), before a brisk 13-ball knock took Mohammad Naveed to an unbeaten 27 to lift the score in the closing overs.
The UAE could even dream of causing a major shock when Amir Hayat dismissed both Australia captain Aaron Finch (1) and Chris Lynn (20) to leave the visitors on 32-2.
But Short took the game away from the hosts with a series of fine strokes. He struck eight boundaries in his 53-ball knock and put on 43 for the third wicket with Glenn Maxwell (18) before an unbroken stand of 44 for the fourth wicket with Ben McDermott to ensure Australia prevailed with 23 balls to spare.
“We were under a lot of pressure but I thought the way Shaiman and Rameez played really well to reinvigorate the inning and try to set us the platform," Brown added of the UAE's display.
“We finished really well by scoring 50 off the last five overs which was a good effort from none for two. After scoring 117 it was always a big ask. I think we still did well to pick two wickets up front, but again, they are a good side.”
Short, 28, was pleased with his knock, and felt the conditions set him and his teammates nicely up for Pakistan.
“It’s definitely good to spend some time out in the middle and play UAE for the first time,” he said. “Getting runs out in the middle can give you a lot of confidence going into the first match on Wednesday."
Short believed the match had benefited both sides in terms of their respective goals.
“It gives them an opportunity to see where their game is at, and hopefully, they can learn from us,” he added.
“And we hope we a can do the same as well. The way they bowled their wickets at the start was very good and definitely worth it.”
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Also in this episode:
- Dougie Brown and Ahmed Raza air their views on the UAE's Twenty20 match against Australia in Abu Dhabi.
- Can the Australians sort out their issues before the all-important home series against India? We discuss.
- We also take a look at how the UAE will benefit from the ICC's restructuring of one-day internationals.
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