x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

UAE reach Gulf Cup final

The UAE manager Kazim hails victory over Saudi Arabia as the best performance in 15 years with captain Albraik leading from the front with the bat.

Albraik scored 65 runs to ensure UAE won on a canter.
Albraik scored 65 runs to ensure UAE won on a canter.

DUBAI // The UAE manager Abdulrazzaq Kazim says the UAE's seven-wicket victory over Saudi Arabia that booked their place in today's inaugural Twenty20 Gulf Cup final was the best performance he has seen by an Emirates team in 15 years. The home side achieved the target of 163 losing three wickets. The captain Alawi Albraik led the assault at the Dubal Cricket Stadium, smashing an unbeaten knock of 65 runs off 39 balls, including six fours, to set up a mouth-watering tie with Oman this evening. The victory came in the wake of the senior team, comprising expatriates, losing to Afghanistan by a huge 84-run margin in the ACC's Twenty20 trophy in Abu Dhabi. Kazim, a former selector for the UAE National team, said his side showed unbelievable character to progress. "It was a remarkable performance. The temperament they showed according to the overs and runs required was superb," said the Emirati. "I have coached the senior players before and even then, in 15 years, I have not seen such quality.

"Albraik put in a true captain's performance and now we will go into the final looking to win. Of course, the result cannot be predicted, but we will fight. You just need to look at the group match we had with Oman [on Sunday where the UAE battled, but slipped to a five wicket defeat] and you can see that we will give them problems." Kazim, who helped co-ordinate the first of what organisers hope will become an annual tournament, said he has been overjoyed with how the event is unfolding. The four-team competition is only for Gulf countries and each team consists solely of national players, rather than expatriates. "I just wanted a successful tournament and I hope we have shown the Asian Cricket Council that, even with a small budget, we can do good things." gmeenaghan@thenational.ae