Fahad Nawaz and Zahoor Khan impress as UAE maintain their perfect record in World T20 Asia Qualifier

Denzil Pinto 20:04 24/04/2018
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Solid show: Fahad Nawaz

Zahoor Khan and Fahad Nawaz were among the bowlers who impressed with the ball as the UAE made it four wins out of four and qualified for the second round of the World Twenty20 qualifying campaign.

Their 43-run victory against minnows Maldives on Tuesday maintained their 100 per cent record in the ICC Asia Regional qualifiers in Kuwait and are assured of a place in the next stage of the competition.

Electing to bat first after winning the toss, the UAE found themselves 35-4 on a tricky pitch. But a 73-run partnership between Muhammad Usman (43) and Mohammad Boota (35) helped them to 123 all out in the 19th over.

But, that total proved more than adequate as the UAE bowlers did the damage with the ball. Captain Rohan Mustafa led from the front with figures of 3-18 while Khan took 2-7 in his 2.3 overs. Nawaz, who made his senior debut with two wickets against Bahrain on Monday, repeated his feat with 2-22.

Head coach Dougie Brown was pleased to get another win after tough batting conditions for his players.

“It was a good result for us,” said the 48-year-old. “It was disappointing that we only got 123 and our top four batsmen had soft dismissals which meant we were behind at one point in the game. The pitch was very difficult and it was always going to be a low-scoring affair.

“We have to give credit to Mohammad Usman and Mohammad Boota who played really well and put on a very good partnership. Usman played exceptionally well and deserved his man of the match and allowed us to get a good total.”

He added: “The bowlers also did very well. Despite an early scare, we came back into the game and really didn’t give Maldives much of a sniff.”

While Brown lauded the efforts of Zahoor and his captain Mustafa, he has been impressed by how 18-year-old Nawaz has settled into the squad and his hunger to succeed.

“All our bowlers did really well,” he said. “It was lovely that Nawaz showed his way in the game and that was only his second game for the senior side. He is showing that he is stepping up to the plate and bowling well. He’s still a work in progress but there’s plenty to work with and it’s nice to see these guys doing well as what they have done in training.”

The national team will be aiming to end the tournament in style with a fifth straight win when they take on hosts Kuwait on Thursday.

And Brown is confident they can maintain their perfect record.

“We have four from four and got another win,” he said. “We know how volatile this format is. we know the pitches are very hard now and scoring is very difficult. Spin will be a big factor in the game and we’ll have to come up with plans to get a good total. It would be nice to complete the tournament unbeaten.”

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