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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Dougie Brown: Series win in Netherlands 'shows UAE are going in the right direction as a team'

UAE will have a week off before preparations begin for next test in Namibia in September

The UAE cricket team celebrates during their three wicket win against the Netherlands. The UAE are on a tour of the Netherlands. 18 July 2017. Photo Courtesy: Sander Tholen / KNCB
The UAE cricket team celebrates during their three wicket win against the Netherlands. The UAE are on a tour of the Netherlands. 18 July 2017. Photo Courtesy: Sander Tholen / KNCB

Happily for UAE cricket, the national team have not had much call lately to test the theory that more can be learnt by defeat than victory.

They have, after all, won 10 of their past 13 matches in all competitions in recent months, breaking a raft of team and individual records in the process.

The latest collective milestone arrived when they secured a series win in the Netherlands for the first time this week.

No small feat, that, given the Dutch are the top-ranked side in Associate competition, while the UAE themselves had muddled preparations for the tour thanks to issues beyond the players’ control.

The three-match series was secured with a game to play, with the UAE hardly breaking sweat to do so.

And yet Dougie Brown, the coach, reckons the clearest evidence of his side’s progress was visible in the way they fought to salvage a game that was lost in the dead-rubber final match.

With what was eventually revised down to a total of 103 to defend in 28 overs, the national team had seemed well beaten when the Netherlands required just 25 with six wickets and plenty of overs left.

They almost managed what would have been a remarkable heist, though, only for the home side to scramble over the line off the final ball, with their last-wicket pair at the crease.

“Everybody was just on fire, which is everything we have been working towards over the past few months,” Brown said.

“It is a testament to them as individuals and a team, and a credit to their attitude towards our vision.

“Yes we lost, but we lost trying to win. We lost showing fight, and with a brilliant attitude. To me, that is everything. They never at any stage looked like they had given up on the game.

“Maybe the UAE in the past might have done that, but it is not what they are doing now. They are a different team now.”

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The UAE’s next test is in Namibia in September, when they will attempt to repair some of the damage done before the start of this year that leaves them bottom of the World Cricket League, and equal last in the Intercontinental Cup.

The players will have a week off now before preparations for that series begin in Dubai, with a trip to South Africa also planned in the lead up to the Namibia tour.

According to Brown, who coincidentally was Namibia’s coach when they played at the World Cup in 2003, the confidence of the players is sky high.

“We mustn’t underestimate the magnitude of this series win, particularly in the Netherlands,” Brown said.

“They are a good side. Yes, they had a couple of players missing, but that doesn’t matter. It shows we are going in the right direction as a team.

“Should we be saying we are the best team in the world? No, of course we shouldn’t. There is a whole bunch of stuff we didn’t do so well.

“It certainly allows us to focus on these things prior to the next series coming up. The whole journey is about trying to improve.

“We know where we want to go as a team, and this is a baby step. That is all we can ask for, to take steps in the right direction.”