UAE players interact during the handing over of debut cap to Aayan.
Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter
A buoyant Bangladesh will seek a clean sweep against a confident UAE with a victory in the second match of the Skyexch T20 series on Tuesday.
Both the team showed their mettle in the first match but an experienced Bangladesh won the game of nerve to emerge winners eventually.
Shoriful Islam bowled a tight last over and denied UAE 11 runs to tilt the game in Bangladesh’s favour by bagging two wickets in the successive deliveries. He got rid of Ayan Afzal Khan and Junaid Siddique to put all the doubts to end.
Islam is a part of the major shake-up, which took place after the Asia Cup debacle. Bangladesh recently played at the Asia Cup in the UAE along with Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.
They had a miserable campaign and failed to qualify for the second round after being defeated by Afghanistan and Sri Lanka in the consecutive matches.
They made wholesale changes in the squad after the Asia Cup. Leg-spinner Rishad Hossain got a maiden call-up. Soumya Sarkar was also recalled after a gap of almost a year as he last played a T20I in November 2021.
Parvez Hossain Emon, Anamul Haque, Mahedi Hasan and Mohammad Naim, all of whom were part of the Asia Cup squad, failed to punch ticket for Australia. They will also miss the services of experienced middle-order batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, who called it a quit after the Asia Cup. Mahmudullah was another prominent name who was not included in the World Cup squad.
Bangladesh will hope their top order to deliver in the second match against UAE. Their top-order had collapsed and were reeling at 77-5 before Afif Hossain and captain Nurul Hasan added an unbeaten 81 runs for the sixth wicket to rescue them.
Bangladesh, who have also included three of the four reserve players who have been named on standby for Australia, may try their bench strength after having taken a 1-0 lead in the series. They will play only one more series involving Zimbabwe and New Zealand before the World Cup.
The Tigers are playing without regular skipper Shakib Al Hasan, who is bound by his contract at the Caribbean Premier League. Shakib has impeccable record in T20s as he has scored 7000 runs and taken more than 300 scalps in the format.
Bangladesh victory was not convincing, they were pushed to the edge twice in the game. During batting they lost four batters with 44 runs on the board before Afif saved them the blushes with a fighting innings. During the chase also UAE had come quite close.
On the other hand, despite the loss, the UAE stole the show with a gritty performance. Ayan khan had a memorable debut as he accounted for the wicket of Litton Das in the maiden over.
He also gave Bangladesh a scare during the chase. Ayan smashed a 17-25 to take the match deep, bring the equation down to 11off six. The teenager impressed everybody with a valiant display in the debut match. The promising all-rounder looks set to play for the UAE for a long time.
Chirag Suri was another stand out performance for the UAE as he lighted up the chase with a blazing start. Vriitya Aravind and Aryan Lakra will consolidate the middle-order with Ayan and Junaid providing a little depth in the tail.
Both the UAE and Bangladesh are looking to hone their skills ahead of the showpiece event in Australia. The UAE have qualified for the World Cup the fourth time, with both the formats combined.
A victory against a Bangladesh will boost the confidence of the UAE ahead of the World Cup as they will play in the preliminary round in Group A alongside Asian champions Sri Lanka, Namibia, and the Netherlands.
They had made it to the 50-over World Cups in 1996 and 2015 while their maiden appearance at the showpiece event in shortest version came in 2014 in Bangladesh before making a cut for Australia.
In the Group B, Ireland, West Indies, Zimbabawe and Scotland will battle it out to join the big boys in the next round.
Bangladesh squad: Nurul Hasan (c), Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Afif Hossain, Mosaddek Hossain, Litton Das, Yasir Ali, Mustafizur Rahman, Mohammad Saifuddin, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Hasan Mahmud, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Nasum Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Soumya Sarkar, Rishad Hossain.
UAE: CP Rizwan, Sabir Ali, Vriitya Aravind, Kashif Daud, Zawar Farid, Basil Hameed, Aayan Afzal Khan Zahoor Khan, Aryan Lakra, Karthik Meiyappan, Ahmed Raza, Alishan Sharafu, Junaid Siddique, Chirag Suri, Muhammad Waseem