x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 14 December 2017

Rohan Mustafa wants UAE to raise game despite victory over Zimbabwe A

National team restrict tourists to 224-9 from 50 overs at ICC Academy before easing to four-wicket win, but captain critical of batsmen for playing 'reckless shots'

UAE's Qadeer Ahmed bowled Zimbabwe's Chamu Chibhabha to take the first of his two wickets on Thursday. Chris Whiteoak / The National
UAE's Qadeer Ahmed bowled Zimbabwe's Chamu Chibhabha to take the first of his two wickets on Thursday. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Rohan Mustafa is demanding more from his players, even though the UAE eased to a comfortable four-wicket win over Zimbabwe A in the opening game of their five-match, 50-over series.

The national team were impressive with the ball as they restricted the tourists to 224-9 from their 50 overs at the ICC Academy.

Mustafa himself was the pick of the bowlers. He took three wickets, and the fact he conceded as many as 46 runs belied the fact he chose to bowl his off-spin during the death overs, to a short leg-side boundary.

The captain had the dubious reward for his courage of two misfields at long-on, that cost him six more than might otherwise been the case.

UAE were rarely seriously troubled in their reply, and any problems they did find were broadly of their own making.

Chirag Suri played on while trying to leave a ball from Neville Madziva. Shaiman Anwar hit a full toss from Brandon Mavuta straight to cover.

Ghulam Shabber, with 71, and Mohammed Usman, who hit 44, did the bulk of the work, before leaving it to Mohammed Qasim to score the winning runs.

Mustafa was pleased his in-form side had contributions from so many different players, but he wants set batsmen to take responsibility for getting the team over the winning line.

“We played some reckless shots and I think we should have chased the target with three or four wickets [down],” Mustafa said.

“Even Shabber, I would still say I’m not happy with him because he should have gone on and scored a hundred.

“In Namibia [on the recent tour] he got out in the 70s, and the same today.

“What we are learning is, if we get set at the wicket, we should go for 50 first. If we get to 70, we need to get to a hundred.

“But we have a lot of players contributing, not one player is dominating, and that has helped a lot.”

Shabber, the UAE wicketkeeper, was named man of the match. He said his side have no fear of playing against a team from international cricket’s elite tier.

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“Yes, they are a Test nation, but we were not scared because we are ready to play against Test nations,” Shabber said.

“There was not too much tension about facing their bowlers.

“We have been practising for the past two months at rotating the strike. If you do that, you don’t need to go for reckless shots. We were able to do that.”

Qadeer Ahmed, who trained with Pakistan ahead of their one-day international series against Sri Lanka last month, excelled with the new ball against the Zimbabweans.

He dismissed Chamu Chibhabha, the Zimbabwe A captain, who has 100 ODIs to his name, for just six, on his way to figures of 2-36.

“This was a good win because we are playing against a Test nation – albeit an A team, but one with a number of experienced international players,” Qadeer said. “Winning this will really boost our confidence.”

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New Zealand women team close in on T20 series victory over Pakistan

New Zealand’s women moved closer to a second series win over Pakistan in Sharjah, after going 2-0 up in the four-match Twenty20 Series.

The White Ferns, who won the preceding one-day international series 2-1, claimed a 39-run win over the hosts in the second T20.

Sophie Devine and captain Suzie Bates put on 116 in 13.4 overs for the first New Zealand wicket.

Even though the away side stuttered to 150-8 from their 20 overs, the chase was well beyond Pakistan, who finished on 111-7.

The third match is at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.