x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Saqib Ali backs UAE to shine at ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier

Tournament to be held at Abu Dhabi's Zayed Cricket Stadium from November 15-30, reports Amith Passela.

Saqib Ali, right, reckons Ireland are beatable in home conditions. Satish Kumar / The National
Saqib Ali, right, reckons Ireland are beatable in home conditions. Satish Kumar / The National

ABU DHABI // The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced that the final stages of the 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier will be held at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The revised schedule now sees the final four days of the tournament, scheduled to take place from November 15-30, moved to the capital.

The UAE will be among the 16 Associate and Affiliate Nations vying for the six spots available in next year’s World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh.

The top three teams in each group at the conclusion of the group stages will automatically qualify.

The final finishing positions of the teams in this event will determine as to which group they will be drawn in for the first round of the World T20 tournament, alongside Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

The UAE play Nepal and Denmark in two warm-up matches on November 12 and 13 in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively, before facing Uganda in their Group A opener at the Nursery Oval in Abu Dhabi on November 15.

Saqib Ali, the UAE batsman, believes the T20 format to be very competitive, giving every team an equal chance to win.

“In the T20 format there are no clear favourites, the game can change within a couple of overs,” he said.

“Any batsman or a bowler can click on his day to win a game for his team. So fingers crossed. Still we are quite confident to be among the six teams to earn qualification to Bangladesh.”

Ireland, who have already qualified for the 50-over-a-side World Cup in Australia in 2015, are in the UAE’s group.

Saqib, however, said they are beatable on home conditions.

“You can say Ireland are the favourites on paper in our group because they are a professional side,” he said.

“We have played against all teams except for the USA and Italy in our group. It would be very interesting to play these two teams.”

The UAE have been in good nick recently, having won the last two series over Canada and Namibia in the World Cricket League Championship.

In-between, they reached the last-four stage in the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore last month.

“The team has indeed been in excellent form, yet we need to go out and play good cricket to earn good results,” Saqib said.

“We have been training hard to win a ticket to Bangladesh. To play in a World Cup is the dream of every player and I know all my teammates are dreaming of it.”