UAE's World Twenty20 road begins with ICC Asian Qualifier in Kuwait

Denzil Pinto 17:03 25/03/2018
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The UAE national team are Kuwait-bound.

Following their World Cup Qualifier participation, the UAE will begin their road to qualify for the World T20 in 2020 when they line up in next month’s Asian Region Qualifier.

Dougie Brown’s side will compete in the tournament alongside hosts Kuwait, Maldives, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia between April 20-27. It is the first qualifying stage for the showpiece event in Australia.

According to the Maldives Cricket Association website, the event will be played in a round-robin format with the top three sides joining Nepal, Singapore and Malaysia in the Asia Regional finals.

On paper, the UAE are favourites to claim one of the qualifying spots and skipper Rohan Mustafa believes they have enough quality to progress to the next stage.

“For us, it’s an important tournament event and one that I feel will have no problem qualifying for the next round,” said the 29-year-old all-rounder.

“There are some good teams there but it’s a chance for us to qualify for the next round of the World Twenty20.”

The UAE last reached the global competition in 2014 when they suffered a group stage exit after consecutive losses to Netherlands, Zimbabwe and Ireland.

But they will go into the tournament in Kuwait buoyed by their showing at the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe. Despite not qualifying for England, they secured ODI status until 2022, while also registering their first triumph over hosts Zimbabwe on Thursday – their first against a Test nation. They also put on spirited displays against Afghanistan and West Indies.

And head coach Brown believes his team will only get stronger, beginning in Kuwait after their performances in Zimbabwe.

“I could not have been more proud on the effort of the guys not just for the tournament but over the last 12 months,” said the 48-year-old.

“It’s just a reward for everything they have given towards that has seen them be in this position. Obviously, whoever has watched the game against Zimababwe, will be delighted that we got over the line but some of the games that we played that were not on television particularly against West Indies and Afghanistan, I thought we played exceptionally well.

“On paper, you would think they are ahead of us but we showed that we have an attitude that allowed us to compete at this level.”

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