UAE stutter in World Twenty20 debut defeat to the Netherlands
SYLHET, BANGLADESH // The UAE face an uphill task if they are to advance to the Super 10 at the World Twenty20 after suffering an opening-night defeat against the Netherlands.
Stephan Myburg blazed a rapid 55 as the Dutch team hauled in the UAE’s target of 152 with six wickets and eight deliveries to spare.
The national team fell below the standards they have set in the past two years, first as they were bowled out for 151 with a ball still to use in their innings.
Then they shelled five catches in the field as their opponents, who have greater experience of global competitions, made easy work of the run chase.
The UAE did have some things to cheer, though, on their first appearance at a global competition since the 1996 50-over World Cup in the subcontinent.
Amjad Ali swept the first ball of the game for four, while in the same over Faizan Asif’s first scoring shot in a major international tournament was an 81-metre six over the bowler’s head.
The UAE innings faltered, though, when Khurram Khan and Swapnil Patil both fell in Tom Cooper’s first over.
The Netherlands’ selection of the Australian all-rounder had been controversial, after he was rushed into the squad as an injury replacement at late notice.
Tim Gruijters, the player Cooper replaced, claims he had been bullied into undergoing a fitness test by the Dutch management, even though he was fit to play.
Gruijters released a statement via Youtube on the morning of the game saying he had been forced to undergo a scan on an existing back injury, which would not have hindered his performance.
The Netherlands had used the results of the scan as the evidence required by the ICC to grant a squad amendment.
Cooper, usually a key player for the Dutch side, had not been named in the original squad as the tournament had been due to clash with playing commitments in Australia.
“It’s clear that the Dutch coaching staff decided to misuse the rules, hoodwink the ICC, and get Tom Cooper in for me,” Gruiters said.
“It’s a disgrace, it’s a cheat, and I would like to state that I do not want to be part of it.”
The Royal Dutch Cricket Association later responded to his claim by saying it differed from the team management’s version of events, and that they would investigate the matter.
Shaiman Anwar top scored for the UAE with 32, but the national team’s effort with the bat capitulated meekly thereafter.
When Myburgh and Michael Swart then struck 69 in 39 balls at the top of the order, the Netherlands were on their way to an easy win.
In the other match in the group on the opening day at the Sylhet International Stadium, Ireland registered a three-wicket win off the final ball against Zimbabwe.
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Updated: March 17, 2014 04:00 AM