Dubai: UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa hailed his team’s seven-wicket win over Nepal in the first match of the ICC World Cricket League Championship held at Abu Dhabi Zayed Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Speaking to Gulf News, after cracking 62 runs off 71 balls studded with seven boundaries and one six to ensure his team a emphatic victory with 25 balls to spare, Mustafa said: “This victory is very good for our team as in the coming World Cup qualifiers we will be playing against Test nations. Nepal has been doing very well among the associate countries and this win is a good exposure for the team. I think our players did a great job but we will have to do more in the coming days.”
The UAE will play their second match of the league on Friday at Zayed Cricket Stadium again.
Mustafa is very happy with the team’s batting which had posted a total of 331 against the formidable Afghanistan in the Intercontinental Cup last week.
Nepal, after batting first, put on an impressive 221 for six in 50 overs. The UAE chased the total as Mustafa got good backing from wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber, who cracked an unbeaten 81 off 116 balls with eight boundaries. Rameez Shahzad too chipped in with 37 runs to ensure the victory in 45.5 overs.
Nepal were restricted to 221 despite fine knocks from Sharad Vesawkar (81) and Gyanendra Malla (54), due to fine bowling from the UAE pacer Zahoor Khan who took two wickets, giving away only 48 runs in his 10 overs.
Three other World Cricket League Championship matches were held in the UAE on Wednesday with Hong Kong beating Papua New Guinea (PNG) by 23 runs at the ICC Academy ground one. Hong Kong after posting 230 for 8 through skipper Babar Hyat’s 77 runs restricted PNG to 207 all out in 47 overs.
In another match at the same venue ICC Academy ground 2, Netherlands beat Namibia by eight wickets. Namibia posted 269 for eight in 50 overs but Netherlands reached the target in 41.1 over through centuries from W. Barresi (120) and BN Cooper (108 n.o).
At the Dubai International Stadium, Scotland defeated Kenya by eight wickets. Kenya were bowled out for 140 and Scotland reached the target in 28 overs through captain KJ Coetzer’s 52 and CS MacLeod’s unbeaten 56.
Meanwhile, ICC announced that Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad has been suspended from all cricket-related activities for twelve months after pleading guilty to breaching ICC’s Anti Doping Code. Shahzad had provided a urine sample as part of the ICC’s out-of-competition testing programme in Dubai on January 17 and his sample found to contain Clenbuterol, classified as a non-Specified Substance under WADA’s Prohibited List and is prohibited both in-competition and out-of-competition.