Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 January 2020

Oman and bad weather stand in way of UAE's hopes of hitting second place in World Cup League Two

Rain looking very likley in Muscat which could prevent Raza's side avenging opening day defeat and building on two fine wins over Namibia

UAE bowler Darius D'Silva in action against Nambia in the Cricket World Cup League Two . Courtesy Oman Cricket
UAE bowler Darius D'Silva in action against Nambia in the Cricket World Cup League Two . Courtesy Oman Cricket

Oman and the weather stand between UAE and vaulting into second place in the Cricket World Cup League Two table, as the national team look to continue their remarkable revival on Saturday.

The resurgent side are due to face the host team in their fourth and final match of their tri-series in Al Amerat.

Muscat and its suburbs have been blanketed by cloud and drizzle on Friday, with weather.com suggesting there is 100 per cent chance of rain on match day.

If it does preclude play, it will deny UAE the chance to try to avenge their opening day loss to the same opponents, as well build on a brace of fine wins over Namibia.

After somehow saving a match that seemed lost to win by eight runs first time out, the national team demolished the Namibians by eight wickets on Thursday.

They won with more than 30 overs to spare, leaving them the rest of the afternoon for extra fitness drills.

A similarly comfortable win over Oman in their last match could see them rise from fifth in the seventh team league, all the way up to second.

They have won three of their past four matches in the competition, having lost their previous eight ODIs in a row until that point.

The upturn in form has been a fine endorsement of the decision to back a group of talented young players.

Ahmed Raza, the captain, has acknowledged he is still getting to know the young brigade.

The fact it took Darius D’Silva, the 21-year-old student, until his 12th match to get a bowl for the national team proves the point. And yet D’Silva is now so well-regarded as a bowler, he has taken the new ball in this series.

It had dramatic effects last time out. Namibia failed to recover from his early three-wicket burst.

D’Silva said he had not demanded a bowl at any point in the matches at the start of his international career.

“I didn’t mention it at all,” D’Silva said. “What happened was, we had a training session, I had a new ball and I started swinging it. That is how I got my chance to bowl.

“I got my first chance against USA in the last series, took two wickets in that game, and it has come along very nicely.

“I play grade cricket back at home [in Perth, Australia, where he is a university student], and I actually bowl first-change.

“To open in international cricket is quite a change, but I am loving it.

“I am not the quickest around. I rely mainly on swing, and this deck had a bit in it, and luckily those nicks carried through.”

D’Silva also hit the winning runs against Namibia. Only four batsmen were required by UAE in chasing 93 to win, and D’Silva was the second oldest, aged 21.

Jonathan Figy, 18, top-scored. Vriitya Aravind, 17, gave the side a fast start, while Chirag Suri was the old man of the group, aged a mere 24.

D’Silva says the youngsters are enjoying being part of the national team.

“My first series was against Netherlands [last summer], and compared to now, there have been massive changes,” D’Silva said.

“You can tell from the morale and how the boys are getting along off the field as well as on it, that we are really enjoying our cricket.

“In our top four, all of us are best mates now. We have spent a lot of time together.

“We have dinner together, we do off-field stuff together, and when you have a partnership with your mate in the middle, it is always great to do well.”

Updated: January 10, 2020 03:12 PM

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