Players of UAE and Bangladesh in action during a match. File
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 is now just a matter of days away with 16 teams looking to battle it out for glory – including the UAE.
They have reached the competition for only the second time in their history after winning their qualifying path against Ireland in February.
Now, ahead of their opening fixture against the Netherlands, we look at the UAE team more closely.
The UAE face the Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Namibia in Group A, and must finish in the top two to reach the Super-12 stage, a feat they have never achieved before.
They come into the competition off the back of two defeats to Bangladesh but pushed them all the way in the first match to only lose by seven runs, a result that would have given them immense confidence.
They also suffered defeat to Hong Kong in a T20 Asia Cup Qualifier but defeated Singapore by 47 runs before that. It would be a remarkable achievement should they manage to reach the Super 12 stage of the competition but facing three sides with significantly more World Cup pedigree than themselves, it will certainly be a tough task.
The UAE have made this stage of the competition just once, eight years ago in the 2014 edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, where they were drawn in a group with the Netherlands, Zimbabwe and Ireland. It was to be a tough time for them, as they suffered three convincing defeats to finish the group bottom.
That means any victory in this year’s competition will make history, with the UAE looking to break their T20 World Cup duck in Australia. When looking at the UAE batting line-up, it is immediately difficult to look beyond opening batter Muhammed Waseem.
A recent 58 against Singapore showed how good his form is heading into the World Cup, but with an average of over 40 at T20 international level, including an incredible 112 against Ireland, Waseem is certainly one to look out for. Captain Chundangapoyil Rizwan recently hit his high score against Bangladesh, with an important 51, which followed his 49 against Hong Kong, and the UAE faithful will hope that form continues.
Other players in good nick are the likes of Basil Hameed whose recent scores of 42 against Bangladesh and 38 against Singapore show that there is plenty of batting for the UAE. Junaid Siddique will be the main man in the UAE bowling attack this World Cup, averaging only 22 and picking up 29 wickets in 25 T20 international matches – Siddique will almost certainly be the one to keep an eye on.
At just 16, Aayan Afzaal Khan has made a promising start to his international career, taking three wickets in his two appearances so far against Bangladesh, and he looks to be one for the future.
Meanwhile spinner Karthik Meiyappan, just 21, showed his ability when taking four wickets on debut against Namibia, averaging just over 30, with a very impressive economy of just 4.64, he will be another to look out for this spring.
The action begins for the UAE against the Netherlands in Geelong on Oct.16, before taking on Sri Lanka two days later at the same ground.
Their final group match sees them taking on Namibia on Oct.20. Meanwhile, a change in Zimbabwe’s travel plans has forced the ICC to reschedule their Men’s T20 World Cup warm-up match against Lanka to Oct.11.
The match was to be played on Monday, Oct.10 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as per the original schedule and will now take place at the same venue a day later. The eight teams featuring in the first round of the 16-team tournament play their warm-up fixtures from Oct.10-13 in Melbourne.
The Junction Oval is the other venue that will host practice matches for the first round. The warm-up fixtures for teams who have direct entries in the Super 12s will be played at two venues in Brisbane — the Gabba and the Allan Border Field — on Oct.17 and 19. Fast bowler Graham Hume will fly out to Australia to replace the injured Craig Young in Ireland’s squad for the upcoming Men’s T20 World Cup, Cricket Ireland confirmed on Saturday.