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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Indoor Cricket World Cup: UAE face final plate eliminator after defeat to India

Host nation face a rematch with England, whom they earlier in the competitiion.

The UAE's clash with India again drew massive crowds to Insportz, Dubai. Courtesy Indoor Cricket World Cup
The UAE's clash with India again drew massive crowds to Insportz, Dubai. Courtesy Indoor Cricket World Cup

UAE will face England this evening in the final eliminator of the Indoor Cricket World Cup plate competition, after losing to India in their semi-final.

It was the second time in the competition they have lost to the Indians, in front of a vociferous crowd at Insportz.

England’s own play-off match against Singapore had been brought forward by 90 minutes, meaning a court was free to cope with the overflow of supporters.

Although Australia and New Zealand, as well South Africa and Sri Lanka, were playing at the same time on the neighbouring courts in the main competition, the UAE v India tie was clearly the main attraction.

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The host nation were livid about losing to the Indians on Monday night, which realistically cost them a semi-final place in the main competition, acknowledging they froze in front of the raucous crowd.

They were adamant they were not going to make the same mistakes again as they met in the last-four of the second tier plate. However, they were still comfortably outplayed by India, who managed 73 batting second, after UAE made 57.

Sameer Nayak, whose absence through injury was one of the telling factors in the UAE not finishing higher that fifth in the group stage, returned.

He was playing through the pain of a torn glute, and he played like a man possessed. He opened the batting with Aaqib Malik, and they started the home effort in assured fashion.

They reached 24 before the final ball of their four overs. Nayak was obviously happy with that haul, as he told Malik not to risk a further run. When Malik was bowled off the final ball, Nayak was furious, accepted no praise from his teammates upon leaving the court, and threw his bat down in a rage.

A negative spiral followed. By the time Saqib Nazir, UAE’s captain, and Vikrant Shetty, his deputy, arrived at the wicket, India had found their flow. The Indians had deliberately targeted Nazir in the first match between the sides, and he was caught off his second ball this time.

And Shetty, who has been the pillar of the national team’s batting in this tournament, was out twice in successive deliveries, as the pair managed just two from their four overs.

The UAE’s total of 57 was eight more than they had failed to chase against the Indians first time around, so they would have believed they could defend it. Their hopes soared when Nayak affected a run out second ball, but the Indians, bayed on by an increasingly frenzied support, made light work of their chase.

At least the UAE still have a chance of retribution. Because of the way the competition is structured, they have a last-chance eliminator against England, who beat Singapore in their play-off, at 7.30pm.

The winners will play India in the plate final at 11am on Saturday.

On the other side of the warehouse, the main show courts have live TV coverage of the matches, aired on Dubai Sports.

Sri Lanka were eliminated when they lost to Sri Lanka. Australia, the winners of all nine previous World Cups, went straight through to another final, after trouncing New Zealand.

The New Zealanders also face a last-chance eliminator, against the South Africans, at 7.30pm.