Given what happened the last time they played Namibia in a T20 match at the ICC Academy, UAE might have begrudgingly accepted the 17-run defeat they were handed this time around. So long as they get to fight another day without all the other drama.
October 10, 2019 was surely the most damaging day in the history of the national team.
In a warm-up match ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifier, they lost to Namibia by 10 wickets, with 12 overs to spare.
The result was not even the troubling part. As the players shook hands at the end of the match, ICC anti-corruption officials entered the playing area and led away three of the home team – Mohammed Naveed, Shaiman Anwar and Qadeer Ahmed.
After investigations that lasted over a year, those three players were banned for a combined total of 21 years.
The national team have done their best to rebuild in the two years’ since, but if they needed a reminder of everything that had been lost, Namibia provided it on Tuesday morning.
While the UAE were happy to be playing again for the first time since January, the game has little wider context for them.
Namibia, though, are fine-tuning their game ahead of playing in the T20 World Cup later this month. In the wake of that corruption scandal, UAE did not make it, despite entering the Qualifier as the second highest ranked side.
It is still two weeks until their first match, against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, but Namibia look in fine working order already on this evidence.
Veteran batter Craig Williams hit 57 in 37 balls as the tourists amassed 159-8 from their 20 overs.
The damage might have been far worse, were it not for the fine death bowling that brought Zahoor Khan 4-29.
UAE did not get close in reply, with left-arm seamer Jan Frylinck taking six wickets as the hosts reached 142-9.
David Wiese, on debut for Namibia five years after his international career with South Africa ended, took a wicket and one brilliant diving catch to dismiss Basil Hameed.
“We are itching to go [against Sri Lanka], but we have a whole road ahead of us over the next two weeks before we can look at that,” Gerhard Erasmus, Namibia’s captain, said this week.
“We will take it one step at a time, prepare as well as we can and get accustomed to the conditions.
“It is a new life we are living in bubble cricket, and the off field stuff does have a big impact.
“If we can nail that, hopefully the onfield stuff will take care of itself.”
UAE will return to action when they face Ireland at the ICC Academy on Thursday morning.