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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

The lowdown: UAE cricket team at the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe

The UAE are attempting to reach the Cricket World Cup for only the third time

The UAE cricket team celebrate winning the World Cricket League Division 2 title after beating Nepal in the final. They advance to the next phase of qualifying in Zimbabwe in March. Courtesy ICC World Cricket League
The UAE cricket team celebrate winning the World Cricket League Division 2 title after beating Nepal in the final. They advance to the next phase of qualifying in Zimbabwe in March. Courtesy ICC World Cricket League

What: World Cup Qualifier 2018, Zimbabwe.

Top two teams qualify for the World Cup in England in 2019.

Format: The top three teams in each group advance to the Super Six stage. The bottom two from each group play to be ranked from seventh to 10th.

Group A

Ireland

Netherlands

Papua New Guinea

UAE

West Indies

Group B

Afghanistan

Hong Kong

Nepal

Scotland

Zimbabwe

UAE opening round fixtures

Sunday March 4, v Papua New Guinea

Tuesday March 6, v West Indies

Thursday March 8, v Netherlands

Monday March 12, v Ireland

UAE squad

Rohan Mustafa (captain), Ashfaq Ahmed, Ghulam Shabber, Rameez Shahzad, Mohammed Usman, Shaiman Anwar, Adnan Mufti, Mohammed Boota, Chirag Suri, Mohammed Naveed, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed

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UAE at World Cup Qualifiers

The hits …

1994 – Kenya

The national team won a place at cricket’s biggest limited-overs competition for the first time, after winning a 20-team competition – then known as the ICC Trophy – in Nairobi.

The UAE were captained by Emirati businessman Sultan Zarawani. They beat Kenya by two wickets in the last over of the final, with Mohammed Ishaq named man of the match for his half-century in the chase.

They advanced to play at the World Cup on the subcontinent, along with the defeated finalists and the third-placed team, the Netherlands. Their win against the Dutch in Pakistan two years later remains their lone World Cup victory to date.

Khurram Khancarried the side on his shoulders during the World Cup Qualifier final against Scotland to reach the 2014 World Cup. Munir uz Zaman / AFP
Khurram Khancarried the side on his shoulders during the World Cup Qualifier final against Scotland to reach the 2014 World Cup. Munir uz Zaman / AFP

2014 – New Zealand

If Khurram Khan’s great UAE career passed without him ever playing at the World Cup it would have been a travesty.

The 2014 Qualifier in New Zealand was his fourth, and – age 42 – realistically his last shot at it. He wasn’t going to pass it up.

Captain Khurram carried the side on his shoulders all the way to the final against Scotland, and thus a treasured trip to Australia and New Zealand.

He topped the tournament’s run-scoring charts with 581 runs. But by the time the World Cup came around a year later, he had been replaced as captain by Mohammed Tauqir.

Gavin Hamilton of Scotland, left, on his way to scoring a century against the UAE in a match in April 2009. Courtesy image
Gavin Hamilton of Scotland, left, on his way to scoring a century against the UAE in a match in April 2009. Courtesy image

… and the misses

Between their two appearances at World Cups, in 1996 and 2015, UAE went to four Qualifier tournaments and suffered heartache at each.

In 1997 in Malaysia, they were 10th out of 22 teams. In 2001 in Canada, fifth place was two off qualifying.

In 2005 in Ireland, they placed sixth when the top five qualified. To exacerbate the hurt, Bermuda, who were one of the teams to beat them to a berth, came to Dubai for a warm-up series before their trip to West Indies – and were promptly beaten 5-0.

In 2009 in South Africa they finished seventh, and were so deprived both a World Cup place and one-day international status.