The UAE’s performance in World Cup qualifiers was very disappointing, although a pre-match mini revival hinted at better results.
as we said before UAE Team PreviewThe Emirates have been something of a cricketing enigma over the past few years, with inconsistent results on the field and drama off it. However, batting performance improved in time under the trio of captain Muhammad Waseem, Vriitya Aravind and Asif Khan, helping The team avoided the ignominy of losing ODI qualification in the qualifier play-offs.
With a stellar run in the ACC Superboys Bowl to follow, one can’t blame the team and the coaches for having Super Six ambitions. What happened next, however, was a return to the familiar batting struggle that culminated in the team failing to win a game in the group stage.
Statistics tell the story
Overall, the batsmen have scored a combined 789 runs over the four group games, the second-lowest of any team and just ahead of the USA’s 780. Despite a flat pitch and good batting conditions, the UAE only managed to score over 200 twice, which was a stretch, when they scored 227 and 211 against Oman and Ireland respectively.
The table above summarizes the UAE’s batting woes in detail. Promising starts were squandered by mid-range batting failures in nearly every game, preventing the team from maintaining any momentum in the final innings. Scores of 124-9, 120-5, 121-7 and 143-9 in Powerplay 2 (10 to 40 rounds) showed that the batting unit was in crisis. To make matters worse, the UAE were eliminated without even going over 40 in their three games against Sri Lanka, Scotland and Ireland.
No one comes close to creating a century. In fact, only one individual scored 50 or more; Ayaan Afzal Khan was the only 58-year-old half-centurion not to feature against Oman. Aravind and Asif played poorly, hitting poorly with 24.5 and 17.3 batting averages, respectively. While captain Wasim was slightly better off, he was unable to translate any brisk start into a respectable score.he still UAE’s top runner 128 points, 32 points, 87 hits.
Bowling was also underwhelming, with spinners Karthik Meiyappan, Aayan Afzal Khan and Rohan Mustafa failing to score at the cloth. Lawayo found too many chances on a flat hitting table. The lack of penetration was evident as the three spinners took just six wickets in total in 77 overs.
In pace bowling, the experienced Junaid Siddique was the UAE’s most efficient bowler taking a total of five wickets at 28.20 for an economy rate of 5.03. Unfortunately, his partner, Zahoor Khan, is capricious and expensive. Among the newcomers, 19-year-old Ali Nasir has shown great promise with both bat and ball and should be a mainstay in the UAE’s starting XI.
Overall, the UAE’s plight was well reflected in the fact that no player finished the group in the top ten for either batting or bowling.
lessons for the future
Aside from the half-century rise of Ali Nasir and Ayaan Afzal Khan, it’s hard to see anything positive the UAE can achieve from this World Cup. Their batting is still a big problem and it will be difficult for them to win many games without consistently scoring over 250 runs in ODIs. Also, bowling teams need to find a way to secure breakouts on unhelpful surfaces.
On a more positive note, the addition of a number of academy graduates and Under-19 cricketers to the wider squad reflects the UAE’s excellent pathway system and their desire to provide young blood early on. Hope these young rising stars can continue to develop on the international stage. Furthermore, with the resumption of the ODI World Cup to 14 teams from 2027 and the expansion of the T20 World Cup to 20 teams from 2024, the UAE team will gain more opportunities to participate in ICC world events in the coming years. These are opportunities that they need both hands to grasp!
You’re reading Emerging Cricket – brought to you by a passionate group of volunteers with a vision to make cricket a truly global game and a mission to inspire passion to grow the game.
Support us for just $2 per month and by becoming a EC Patron.