UAE and Bangladesh players in action during their T20 match in Dubai on Tuesday.
Mohammad Abdullah, Senior Sports Reporter
A brave UAE put up a spirited performance against a much-experienced Bangladesh, who again won the battle of the nerve as they defeated the hosts by 32 runs in the second match to clinch the series 2-0 in Dubai on Tuesday.
After posting 169/5, Bangladesh restricted the UAE to 137/5 in their allotted 20 overs. Despite losing the match and the series, UAE still can take a lot of positives.
In the both the matches they put up a good fight and left an indelible impression on the hearts of the fans. The first match marked a memorable debut for Aayan Khan, who smashed a 17-ball 25 to take the UAE on the brink of a victory.
In the second match, their bowlers did well to pull the things back and restrict Bangladesh to 170, when they looked set to go beyond 190 as the projected score suggested.
CP Rizwan smashed a fighting fifty and led the chase. Looking from the hindsight, many would call it a futile chase as the UAE never posed a threat during the entire innings but a confident Rizwan showed the mettle the champions are made of.
He led from the front and refused to give up in the toughest of times. His chutzpah was acknowledged by the rivals and peers alike. At the end of the match Bangladesh players were seen congratulating him for a nervy innings. Surely, this will not only boost the confidence of the captain but also of the whole team.
After a faltering start, the CP Rizwan and Basil Hameed kept the chase alive. The duo kept the Bangladesh bowlers at bay and did not allow the visitors to take a wicket until the penultimate over after being reduced to 29-4 in the seventh over.
Rizwan and Basil Hameed knuckled down to repair the damage. They took the charge in their hands and added 90 runs for the fifth wicket as the UAE reached a respectable total of 137/5.
This shows the depth in the batting and character both. The fighting spirit of the UAE was on display in both the matches. The bilateral series made it clear that the UAE cricket is going in the right direction under patronage of Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and the watchful eyes of the coach Robin Singh.
The UAE players are nothing short of talent and just need a little more experience and exposure at the international level. Such bilateral or tri series involving the Full Members country will give them the exposure, which will make them better at handling the pressure and holding the nerve in the nail-biting finishes.
Meanwhile, the UAE had a nightmarish start in reply as they lost opening batsman Chirag Suri with just nine runs of on the board.
Suri was not even a pale shadow of himself, who struck a confident 39 in the first match.
He was beaten outside the off stumps by Taskin Ahmed four times in row before finally getting an outside edge and the ball raced away to the boundary line, bringing the first welcome boundary for the UAE.
In the next over, Nasum caught and bowled Suri to trigger the collapse.
After that UAE lost the wickets in quick succession as they were reduced to 29/4 from 9/1. Mosaddek got rid of Aryan Lakra and rattled the stumps of Vriitya Aravind before Taskin trapped Waseem Ahmed in front of the stumps.
Earlier, Miraz and Sabbir Rahman gave Bangladesh a decent start as the opening duo added 27 runs for the wicket. Lakra trapped Sabbir in front of wickets to give the UAE first breakthrough.
Miraz and Litton Das palyed cautiously and added 41 runs for the second wicket to take the score to 68/1. Litton and Miraz had laid down the foundation for a big total and Bangladesh looked set to reach somewhere around 190. Both the batsmen played confidently as the procured 41 runs in just 4.4 overs.
But Aayan Khan broke the dangerous-looking partnership to bring some respite into the UAE camp. Aayan got Das, who hit four boundaries in his 20-ball 25, caught by Meiyappan. His dismissal brought Afif Hossain, the hero of the last match, on the crease.
Afif failed to recreate the same magic as that of the last match and holed out to Meiyappan as Aayan picked up the second scalp of the day.
Bangladesh were losing wickets at regular intervals but they maintained their run rate. Miraz was waging a one battle at the one end as wickets kept on tumbling. The UAE bowlers pulled it back by striking regularly and not letting the partnerships to develop, which controlled the flow of runs. Miraz was joint by Mosaddek Hossain in the middle and the duo took the score to 122/3.
Sabir, in second spell, caught Miraz plumb before the wickets to get rid of the dangerman. Miraz just fell of another deserving half-century as he was dismissed on 46. His 35-ball knock was peppered with five boundaries.
UAE bowlers choked the runs and the conceded only 29 runs in four overs. Bangladesh batsmen were struggling to pace p the innings. But in the las over, Zahoor Ahmed gave away 14 runs as they reached 169/5.
Bangladesh made two changes they brought Ebadot Hussian and Taskin Ahmed in for Shoriful Islam and pace spearhead Mustafizur Rahman ti try their bench strength. Bangladesh will play only one more tri-series involving Zimbabwe and the hosts New Zealand before the World Cup.