The captain impresses with the ball and bat as UAE beat Oman by 13 runs to seal final spot
The UAE took one step closer to reaching the Asia Cup after a tense 13-run victory over Oman set up a final with Hong Kong on Thursday.
The UAE went into Tuesday’s game knowing a win over their Gulf neighbours would guarantee them a place in the title decider and they did exactly that in Kuala Lumpur.
Batting in damp conditions, most of the batsmen struggled but captain Rohan Mustafa led from the front as he hit 71 from 104 deliveries to help the UAE post 208 in their 50 overs. Mustafa’s knock was crucial considering the second highest score was Ashfaq Ahmed’s 24.
It was their lowest total when batting first in the Asia Cup Qualifier but that did not matter as the bowlers did their job with the ball.
Mustafa did more damage with the ball, taking 2-31 and joined Mohammad Naveed (2-51) and Amir Hayat (2-48) among the wicket-takers.
Spinner Ahmed Raza claimed one scalp before Shaiman Anwar wrapped up the win when he dismissed Bilal Khan as Oman were all out for 195 in the 47th over.
The result means UAE finish top of the group standings with eight points, ahead of Hong Kong, who sealed their final berth on run-rate after they finished level on points with Oman.
Should the UAE win on Thursday against Hong Kong, they will qualify for the Asia Cup which will be held in the Emirates later this month.
And Mustafa believes they are on the right track going into the game although he wants his batsmen to step up.
“It was a great performance by everyone. It was hard wicket to bat on in the morning but come the afternoon, there was nothing in it. The guys did very well and they helped us a lot,” said the all-rounder.
He added: “We need to improve in the middle-order because they are not scoring as many runs as they should be. We have Shaiman, Rameez and Usman who are very good batsmen and they need to start scoring. The good sides have their middle-order batsmen performing and we need to do the same.”