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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

UAE cricketers frustrated by rain again as Zimbabwe sweep ODI series in Harare

Coach Dougie Brown rues soft dismissals throughout series but happy for experience of touring Full Member nation

UAE players walk off the field after a light drizzle interrupted play during the fourth ODI against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday. Zimbabwe Cricket
UAE players walk off the field after a light drizzle interrupted play during the fourth ODI against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday. Zimbabwe Cricket

Given the way the UAE’s 2018/19 season has been coloured by the weather, it seemed cruelly fitting that it should end via a loss on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Zimbabwe clinched a 4-0 series cleansweep at Harare Sports Club as they beat the national team by three wickets on Tuesday.

It was the second match the UAE had lost after a rain-revision this series – and the fourth time across the season that showers had played an appreciable role in a significant fixture for them.

The sequence started in ignominious fashion back in September when Hong Kong beat them to a place in the Asia Cup, after rain altered the course of the UAE batting innings in the Qualifier final in Malaysia.

Maybe even more portentously, UAE were denied a win against the same opposition in November by a brief shower at the Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Pakistan.

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Frustrations at that point boiled over the extent that three senior players – Rohan Mustafa, Rameez Shahzad, and Ahmed Raza – were subsequently banned for criticism they made on Twitter at that tournament.

The fact two of the four matches in the first bilateral series involving UAE and a Test-playing nation, which marked the end of the season, were also affected by the elements felt almost inevitable.

Zimbabwe had appeared to be coasting to their target before the last rain shower arrived in Tuesday’s final match. They faltered after returning to bat, in the face of fine bowling from Mohammed Naveed and Rohan Mustafa, who each took two wickets.

Having reached 79-2 in the chase, the hosts lost three wickets – key men Craig Ervine, Sean Williams and Peter Moor – without any further addition.

But the home side made it to the 129 they needed to win with three wickets to spare, plus more than five of the reduced allocation of 30 overs. Timycen Maruma top scored for the home side with 35 from 22 balls, to settle the nerves after the mid-innings collapse.

Earlier, the UAE had been bowled out for 175 – meaning they failed to reach 200 at all during the series – with Chirag Suri, who made 46, and CP Rizwan, who made 45, making the only notable contributions.

“The rain always seems to be affecting us at the moment,” UAE coach Dougie Brown said. “The DLS calculation didn’t really help us, it just meant the chase was over a shorter period. Also, the ball was wet for us – but, that said, we were in a perfect position to score more than what we did.

CP Rizwan top-scored for the UAE against Zimbabwe in Harare on Tuesday, but it was still not enough for the touring party. Chris Whiteoak / The National
CP Rizwan top-scored for the UAE against Zimbabwe in Harare on Tuesday, but it was still not enough for the touring party. Chris Whiteoak / The National

“It has been indicative of us as a team in this series that when we have got into a position of strength, like we did today, we lost a soft wicket.”

The tourists had high expectations for their first series against a Test nation, having beaten Zimbabwe the last time they faced them a year earlier.

“We expected better from this series, and that makes the 4-0 result even more disappointing,” Brown said.

“But we have to remember we are playing against a Full Member side for the first time in the history of UAE cricket, so let’s not look too closely at the scoreline. We’ll focus on the two games in which we pushed them closely.”

Updated: April 16, 2019 10:40 PM

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