Having scraped past Uganda to make the plate semi-finals at the Under 19 World Cup, UAE remain full of belief they can topple West Indies and stay on course for silverware.
The age-group side were demoted to the second-tier competition after losing out to England and Bangladesh in the pool stage.
Despite a faltering run-chase, they then earned a one-wicket win over Uganda to remain in contention for the plate. On Friday, they will face the hosts in Trinidad in the last four.
According to Adithya Shetty, who played a key role with both bat and ball in beating the Baby Cranes, UAE remain optimistic of their prospects.
“We’re going to be against West Indies next game,” Shetty said.
“Beating them would surely give us a boost in confidence and would make us favorites to win the plate round.
“Also going into the final beating a Full member nation would do us all a world of good, and winning the final would be a testimony to all the work we’ve put in as a group over the past year.”
Shetty is a highly regarded leg-spinner who might have become the youngest player to represent the UAE senior side last year, age 16, but was deprived when Covid curtailed an ODI series against Ireland.
He brought his class to bear against Uganda, taking four wickets as they were bowled out for 123.
“I had been feeling pretty good while bowling throughout the tournament, but there’s always things you can improve on,” Shetty said.
“I also felt like I got slightly unlucky in the previous games as there were a couple of decisions that didn’t go in my favour but was pretty pleased with the way I bowled.”
Shetty also played a vital role in the nervy finish to the game. Batting at No 10, he came to the wicket with UAE needing 24 with just two wickets left.
He ended up hitting two vital boundaries during a last-wicket stand with Jash Ginyanani which ultimately proved crucial.
“The instructions when I was going in to bat was pretty clear, it was to stay calm and relaxed and just support Soorya [Sathish] and trust myself and look to get runs if the ball was there for it,” he said.
“The plan [after Sathish was out] was to try and keep maximum strike and look to get runs off the fast bowler as the spinner was slightly tricky to get runs off because the pitch was doing a bit for the spinner.
“I just felt relieved to be honest. A game that we were expected to win came pretty close because of some good cricket played by them.
“Their energy and attitude in the field was superb even after the start we got with the bat. Their spinners kept them in the game by picking up wickets regularly and the way they fielded was exceptional as well.
“The pitch had started to do a bit more than what it did in the first innings which made the chase slightly more tricky.”