22 March 2015
United Arab Emirates CWC15 Wrap
Despite finishing without a win, it won plenty of fans for its tough approach and competitiveness against the world’s best
UAE was the only group of non-professional players at the World Cup
After a month of touring Australia and New Zealand, performing in front of large crowds, meeting fans and making media appearances, the United Arab Emirates players are headed home to their day jobs.
UAE was the only group of non-professional players at the World Cup and despite finishing without a win, the team won plenty of fans for its tough approach and competitiveness against some of the world’s best players.
At the end of the group stage, batsman Shaiman Anwar was in the top 10 batsmen for the tournament, having scored 311 runs at 51.83.
The middle-order batsman took the tournament by storm and after four innings, sat on top of the runs tally, ahead of the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and AB de Villiers.
Anwar’s form in the tournament was indicative of a dogged UAE outfit, which was competitive against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka before being blown away by India, the Emirates team again dug in chasing a big Pakistan total in Napier.
It did its best to trouble a South African outfit hell-bent on securing second spot in Pool B, before fighting back from 46-6 to score 175 against West Indies.
Alongside Anwar, Amjad Javed (170 runs at 34) also impressed with the bat, while Mohammad Naveed was the best with the ball, taking eight wickets at 38.37.
Manjula Guruge and Javed each took seven wickets.
“Javed's done very well throughout the tournament,” skipper Mohammad Tauqir said.
“Shaiman Anwar was very consistent, and I think overall our bowling department was pretty consistent in every game.
“I think it's a little bit of fielding and the batting department that needs a bit of improvement.
“But we take a lot of positives from the whole event, and it was overall a good learning experience for us. We have thoroughly enjoyed this tournament.”
When asked how the UAE players would transition back to everyday life after the tournament, Tauqir and opening batsmen Andri Raffaelo said it would be business as usual.
“We've been doing that for quite a while,” Raffaelo said. “That is just our normal routine. So once you go back, everybody will be back to work and back to practice. That's how our lives go.”
The UAE cricketers put long hours into their World Cup training but the toil will not end here for them, with only a little over three months to prepare for the ICC World T20 qualifiers.
“Our employers are waiting for us,” Tauqir said. “And we have Intercontinental Cup ahead of us in July and T20 World Cup qualifying.
“So once we go back, we will be preparing for these upcoming tournaments.”
Playing in the World Cup would put the team in a stronger position heading into those contests, Tauqir said.
“This whole tournament has definitely given us a lot of experience and has boosted our confidence,” he said.
“I think overall the whole tournament has been very, very special for the whole team.”
He said facing the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morel at full pace was one of the positives UAE would take from the tournament, along with several close finishes.
“Although we wanted to win one or two games, we came very close,” Tauqir said. “I'm very thankful to them also for bowling the way they bowled to us.
“I think by facing them it gave us a lot of confidence.
“I think that inning was a highlight for us, and we almost played 48 overs, 49 overs in that match.”
Should they be successful in that endeavour, they have the chance to play at the 2016 ICC World T20, to be held in India in March next year.
The UAE is one of 14 teams set to play in the qualifiers, alongside Ireland, Scotland and Afghanistan.
Other teams to have booked their place in the qualifiers are Nepal, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Oman and Papua New Guinea, while the remaining five places are still open.
The qualifying tournament will be held in Ireland and Scotland between July 9 and August 2, with the top six teams to progress to next year’s World T20.
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