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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

UAE chase down 'huge' Zimbabwe A total to clinch series cleansweep in Dubai

Shahzad's impressive half century and Naveed's blistering late cameo handed the hosts victory in the fifth and final match.

Amir Hayat bowls during the UAE's victory over Zimbabwe A at the ICC Academy on Saturday. Pawan Singh / The National
Amir Hayat bowls during the UAE's victory over Zimbabwe A at the ICC Academy on Saturday. Pawan Singh / The National

Mohammed Naveed provided the exclamation mark to a remarkable series win for UAE when his huge six over extra cover clinched a series cleansweep over Zimbabwe A.

Maintaining a perfect record had seemed a daunting task at the halfway stage of the fifth and final match at the ICC Academy in Dubai.

The Zimbabwean batsmen had amassed 312-9 from their 50 overs, thanks largely to some brutal hitting from Peter Moor, who made 75 in just 30 balls.

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The hosts made the chase look relatively simple, though, clinching a four-wicket win with 11 deliveries remaining.

Rameez Shahzad made light of a lack of runs and time in the middle of late by playing a brilliant hand in the run-chase. He hit 61 in 58 balls.

An assured stand worth 112 for the fifth wicket between Laxman Sreekumar and Adnan Mufti took the home team to the brink of the winning line.

It was left to Naveed to provide the spectacular finish, as he hit two sixes and a four in his six-ball cameo worth 18 not out.

“Today is one of my favourite days, because they put up such a huge total, 312, and we have never chased that down [before],” Mufti said.

“I have been in this situation before, in my debut against England Lions and against Scotland. I know the role, and that if we stuck to the plan for what we have been training for, we will get easily to the total.

“I think this is one of the huge days for UAE cricket. Zimbabwe are a Test nation, and their team have a lot of experienced Test and ODI players, but we did it quite easily.

“It is a huge achievement. We are going through a process, and we are sticking to the process.”

The manner of the win capped a fine week for Rameez in particular. The UAE-raised batsmen had captained the senior team for the first time in the fourth match, which ended in the most emphatic win of the series.

Rameez, who is the younger half of the only father-son partnership to have represented UAE, was proud of the fact his side had managed a 5-0 whitewash.

“We knew it was a big total, but at the same time it wasn’t a very difficult wicket to bat on,” Rameez said.

“Chasing a larger total is actually something I like, because against a low total, sometimes I find it hard to play much usual aggressive game. If there is a bigger total, I feel more comfortable because I can be more aggressive.

“Having the Zimbabwe team here, we were confident we could win the series, but achieving something like this gives us the confidence we can achieve something bigger now.”