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High on morale, UAE ready for Netherlands

‘The knocks against Windies is clearly a confidence-builder for us’

N. D. Prashant, Staff Reporter
21:00 March 7, 2018
Rohan Mustafa

Abu Dhabi: THE UAE may have failed to weather the Gayle storm or Shimron Hetmyer onslaught against the Windies, but there are plenty of pluses for them to take going into the next league match against Netherlands on Thursday.

A major shot in their arm is the way their batsmen, especially the middle order, went about their business despite skipper Rohan Mustafa, who scored 95 against Papua New Guinea (PNG), failing with the willow.

Opener Chirag Suri will also be taking a lot of heart from his contribution of 38 off 62 deliveries but the man whose confidence will be skyhigh will be Rameez Shahzad. Coming in at No. 4, Shahzad went on to score an attacking and authoritative unbeaten 112 off 107 balls.

The century knock is all the more commendable as it has come against a seasoned Test playing nation. It speaks volumes of the ability of the 30-year-old, who was figuring in his 13th ODI for UAE since making his debut against Scotland in 2016.

Shaiman Anwar has always been the spine of UAE batting and he delivered yet again with a brisk 64 off 62 balls. He, along with Shahzad, also stitched together a partnership of 144 for the fourth wicket and the way it blossomed from just 132 deliveries would have created some jitters in the might Windies camp. There was also a 36-ball 45 standout performance from Adnan Mufti at No. 7.

“Rameez and Shaiman showed a lot of character in their batting and they brought their experience into play. If they can repeat that again tomorrow, we should be home easy,” Mustafa told Gulf News, adding: “The knocks had come against West Indies, so it is clearly a confidence builder for us. To get runs against a Test playing nation with a good bowling attack feels great. We want to take that into the remaining matches and keep doing well.”

Mustafa brushed aside that he had any bowling worries despite them being carted around the park by Gayle and company. “You know when Gayle keeps going, he can destroy any bowling attack. Yesterday was his day and be it any other bowler — South African or Australian, they too would have been dealt with the same result, so I’m not upset with my bowlers,” said Mustafa, who is also looking to build on the start that he got in the opener against PNG.

“I’m well aware, if I do well at the top then things become easy for the people coming in after me. As a captain if I can lead from front nothing like it and I will be looking to do that,” said Mustafa, who rated Netherlands as a formidable team with a good blend of young and experienced players.

“Netherlands is a good side and now they have two experienced players — Ryan ten Doeschate and Roelof (van der Merwe) but we are upbeat about our chances and back ourselves to do well,” said Mustafa, whose words were echoed by coach Dougie Brown but the latter urged his wards to be more consistent.

“Against Netherlands, we need to show the same intent with the bat, and improve with the ball. We need to be far more consistent across 100 overs and need more aggression in fielding,” said Brown, who side now have three points from two matches.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, have struggled with their batting department. In the lost cause against Ireland, their top score was just 33. With the heavens opening up, the pressure of a DLS chase may have played a part in the opener but their batters have to get going here in this crucial tie, especially opener Wesley Barresi, who was impressive in the warm-ups.