Two youngsters led the way as the United Arab Emirates got their first win of the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2, beating a fancied Scotland side by seven wickets.
For this round of CWC League 2 fixtures, UAE, having missed out on qualification for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, revamped their side, infusing it with youth and fresh faces. The move paid off on Sunday, 15 December, in Dubai, as 24-year-old Chirag Suri and 26-year-old Basil Hameed, playing his first series, struck confident fifties to chase down Scotland's 220.
After two tough defeats at the hands of USA, the success comes as a confidence boost for a UAE side whose average age is 25. In their line-up are two university students and one schoolboy.
& here, ladies & gentlemen, is the future!— UAE Cricket Official (@EmiratesCricket) December 15, 2019
Congratulations Basil Hameed - Player of the Match - @ICC #WCL2 #UAE v @CricketScotland - 63* (off 82)
👊#Roadtocwc23 #GoGrey pic.twitter.com/0drIA6gGdw
"It has not been easy for us, fielding such a side," Suri told The National after the game. "It is really good to see our side stepping up and showing that character.
"This team can go on for the next five or 10 years. Maybe there will be a couple of changes, but this team can potentially play for the next five years, which is really exciting for us."
After some of their senior players fell afoul of the ICC's anti-corruption code and were suspended, captain Ahmed Raza and coach Dougie Brown had the challenge of rebuilding the squad. Raza is delighted with what he's seen so far.
"We have been honest among the group about the fact there will be ups and downs in this journey," he said. "We are such a young team, but they have shown promise."
The skipper had particular praise for newcomer Basil, who followed up scores of 25 and 38 in the previous games of the round with 63* in the winning chase against Scotland.
"He has progressed throughout the series," Raza observed. "In the first two games he was getting out in the 30s, but today he carried his bat."