Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 February 2020

UAE coach proud of team's progress despite Under 19 World Cup exit

Telo says frustration after losing to South Africa shows how far team has come

UAE Under 19 coach Dom Telo says his team might still have the chance to beat Test nations at this week's Plate tournament. Antonie Robertson / The National
UAE Under 19 coach Dom Telo says his team might still have the chance to beat Test nations at this week's Plate tournament. Antonie Robertson / The National

UAE’s Under 19 World Cup hopes might be over but they are still aiming to take some scalps of leading teams, according to coach Dom Telo.

The age-group side exited the main phase of the competition when they fell to a 23-run defeat to hosts South Africa in a rain-affected group match on Saturday.

They will now face Scotland, against whom they played a three-match warm up series in Dubai ahead of the World Cup, on Tuesday in the quarter-final of the Plate tournament.

The consolation competition might not have been what the players had headed to South Africa to participate in. They did, after all, have serious designs on beating South Africa and advancing through to the Super League phase.

There might still be opportunities for them to be noticed yet, though. England, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka are all in the Plate event.

UAE have only once beaten a Test nation in a competitive fixture at any level, and the age-group side are keen to add to that tally.

Their belief that they are capable of doing so will be buoyed by how they fared against South Africa in the decisive pool match.

UAE were 112-3 chasing 300 to win when the rain came 23.5 overs in to their chase.

Whether they would have made it is open to question. But the fact they even considered themselves in contention against such a celebrated cricket nations shows how far the UAE side have come, according to their coach.

“I said to the guys in the dressing room that the hurt they are feeling now shows just how much they have come along as individuals and as a team,” Telo said.

“In the past, just being able to compete with South Africa and be on the same field as them would have been an achievement for some of these players.

“Now, after all the progression they have made, and how far they have come, that is not good enough for them. They want to do better, they want to beat top teams, and that is credit to them.

“We are obviously disappointed, but there is three games left in this World Cup, and there is the potential to beat a couple of Full Members if the chance comes along.

“This tournament is not over for them. We have to dust ourselves off, as hard as it is, and move onto the next game against Scotland.”

Telo said the nature of the rain-revised loss to South Africa had been a lesson to his players.

“For any team that has worked as hard as these guys have to try and achieve their goal of qualifying for the Super League, to have that taken away by something out of your control is tough to accept,” Telo said.

“For young cricketers, it might be the first time, but it definitely won’t be the last time something like this happens to them. Sometimes things like this come into it. We have to reflect on it and deal with it.”

Updated: January 26, 2020 03:55 PM

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