The UAE players will board their flight to Melbourne ahead of the T20 World Cup on Thursday better for the experience of their series loss to Bangladesh.
That is the view of CP Rizwan, the national team captain. He insists the two-game series in Dubai was just the sort of “great learning curve” his side require before the bigger tests that await in Australia.
The hosts lost by seven runs against their celebrated opposition on Sunday night. That was followed by a more comprehensive 32-run defeat on Tuesday, despite a fine half-century by Rizwan himself.
“It was great experience for us playing against them,” Rizwan said. “We had our moments. We lost wickets in clusters. We had the same in the second game in the top order as we had in the middle order in the first match.
“But there were also a lot of positives. We almost had them, but we missed a couple of chances in the field.
“We put them under pressure in bowling and batting, so there are a lot of positives from this series. They are a Test-playing nation, who are playing matches regularly.
“To play against them is a great learning curve, especially for a guy like Aayan Khan, who is just 16 years old playing his first two matches. He did a great job.”
UAE, in 13th, are just four places below Bangladesh in the ICC rankings for T20 sides. Yet they have played 16 fewer matches in the time period which makes up the calculations.
Their next opponents, West Indies, who they face in a World Cup warm up match in St Kilda on October 11, are ranked No 7 in the world.
Rizwan says his team need to learn lessons fast if they are to bridge the gap and make their mark on the World Cup, which will start for them against Netherlands in Geelong on October 16.
“Batsmen have to find a way,” Rizwan said when addressing the issue of losing wickets in clusters. “We have to keep playing percentage shots initially to make sure we don’t lose our wickets, but also ensure we don’t lose sight of the required run rate.
“It is about playing percentage cricket shots, then when you get set you can go for the big shots.”
Rizwan himself provided a decent template in the second match against Bangladesh.
He scored at a run-a-ball in the initial phase of his innings, after coming in when three wickets had been lost for two runs in the space of seven deliveries. By the end of the innings, he had made 51 not out from 36 balls.
“If you don’t play percentage shots initially, the risk of getting out is higher,” said Rizwan, whose 90-run partnership with Basil Hameed was the highest by a non-Test nation in T20Is against Bangladesh.
“You have to ensure you are behind the ball and play good solid shots. We lost four wickets in the first seven overs. If we had got a good start like we did in the first match, the story might have been different.”