Javed and Mustafa heroes as UAE deliver statement of intent with win over Netherlands
Six wickets between captain and former captain enough for Emirates to beat hosts by three wickets in first of three one-dayers.
The UAE served notice that they are serious about making good on their bold ambitions by beating the Netherlands in Amstelveen.
The three-wicket win, in the first match of three between the sides this week, was the most significant success yet in the revival of the national team.
UAE cricket had been in the doldrums for 18 months until the start of this year, but their form has improved markedly in 2017, with series wins against Papua New Guinea and Oman in recent months.
The series in the Netherlands is the first since Dougie Brown was appointed permanently to the role of coach.
Brown has great expectations for his new charges, saying ahead of the tour: “Could we be the No 1 Associate team in cricket in the next three years? Yes, we could.”
Their rivals in the Associate sphere might have doubted the merit of those words, given the UAE sit bottom of the eight-team World Cricket League at present.
The Netherlands, by contrast, top the table.
And yet, despite the disparity in the standings, as well as the fact that the UAE had no match practice leading up to the series, the touring side took the opening match win.
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Amjad Javed was the star turn for the away side.
His three wickets in the space of nine balls reduced the Netherlands to 50-4 in the 17th over. It was a decisive burst and, fittingly, the former captain later hit the winning runs from the only ball he faced.
Rohan Mustafa, the captain, also took three wickets with his off-spin, as the home team stuttered to 182-8 from their 50 overs. Mohammed Usman then underlined his growing importance in the batting line up, as he marshalled the run chase with 57 not out.
The left-hander’s emergence as a key figure in the middle order has mirrored the team’s upturn in fortunes this year.
His effort against the Netherlands meant the UAE were able to resist Paul van Meekeren, the highly-impressive Dutch fast bowler, who took 3-22 from his 10 overs.
Usman and Amjad were at the wicket when victory was achieved with an over to spare.
“We did a great job in the bowling department,” Mustafa said. “All the bowlers were consistent in their line and length, and we weren’t expecting that so much because we are not used to these kind of conditions.
“The bowlers did a great job restricting them to 180. It should have been an easy total to chase, and even though we aren’t used to the conditions, we chased it down.”
The two sides meet again in the second game of the series at the same venue on Wednesday.
Updated: July 17, 2017 09:55 PM