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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Spin this: UAE's leading batsman Shaiman Anwar takes four Netherlands wickets in big win

In inspired move, captain Roan Mustafa hands ball to Shaiman whose 4-31 helps tourists to five-wicket win in second one-dayer.

Fast bowler Mohammed Naveed chipped in with three wickets for the UAE. Satish Kumar / The National
Fast bowler Mohammed Naveed chipped in with three wickets for the UAE. Satish Kumar / The National

It was a day of unusual occurrences at the cricket in the Netherlands. Play was briefly halted by a torrential hailstorm.

A UAE-raised Indian Premier League player made a comeback for the national team.

And Shaiman Anwar led the UAE off the field after their bowling effort, having been the pick of the team’s bowlers.

Shaiman had taken four wickets with his rarely-seen spin. By way of some perspective, the UAE’s leading batsman has only bowled four deliveries in all of the 50 official limited-overs internationals he has played for the national team to date.

Yet Rohan Mustafa, the captain, saw fit to give him eight overs in the second 50-over match against the Dutch.

He repaid the faith unexpectedly shown in him with the decisive spell of the match, ending with 4-31.

Perhaps it was no surprise. Most of what Mustafa has done since taking over as UAE captain earlier this year has turned to gold so far.

To complete a bizarre day, the UAE wrapped up a rare series win away from home, and against arguably the leading Associate side in the world at present, too.

Although it really says much about the improvements made by the national team lately that the five-wicket win, which gave them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, did not feel much of a shock.

The Netherlands are missing three noted players, while the UAE have been performing like a finely-tuned machine for most of the past six months.

This latest win, in Voorburg in South Holland, puts their record at won 10, lost two in their past 12 matches in all cricket.

In all of that rich run of form, though, this must rank as the finest achievement so far.

The Netherlands, it should not be forgotten, are top of the World Cricket League at present, while the UAE are bottom.

This win provided yet more reasons for optimism, too, given the major contributors were different to those in the opening day win two days earlier.

As well as Shaiman’s rare turn with the ball, Mohammed Naveed, the UAE’s fastest bowler, showed his class in taking three wickets of his own.

Chirag Suri, making his first appearance for the UAE after his return from the IPL, shared in a 50 partnership for the first wicket with his captain,

Mustafa.

Mustafa’s even-paced innings of 58 laid the platform in the run-chase, as the tourists pursued the Dutch total of 239-9.

Victory was achieved with 10 balls to spare, with Mohammed Usman at the wicket again when the winning runs were scored.

The left-hander had also navigated the away side through the final throes of the chase two days earlier, and he ended on 42 not out this time around.