UAE tasted more success against Oman in the Cricket World Cup League 2 after a second extraordinary cameo by Basil Hameed in consecutive days.
On Saturday, the Kerala-born batsman hurried UAE to victory in the first game of the three-match series with a brutal late-overs assault worth 61 from just 33 balls.
A day later in Muscat, it was his lesser-regarded off-spin bowling which was even more devastating. Having been introduced as the sixth UAE bowler to be used, Hameed took 5-17 in 6.2 overs.
His impact saw the home capitulate from 160-4 to 195 all out in less than 12 overs.
UAE did face some struggles in the chase. But Hameed’s fellow Keralite CP Rizwan played a second match-winning hand in the space of four ODIs to guide the tourists to a four-wicket win.
Rizwan, who scored a century in a win over Ireland the last time UAE played ODI cricket, in January 2021, top scored with 76 not out against Oman.
He shared in partnerships worth 72 with Chirag Suri (43), and 50 with Vriitya Aravind (34). He was also at the wicket when Kashif Daud clipped Bilal Khan down to third man, as the win was secured with four and a half overs to spare.
The back-to-back wins in Muscat have been remarkable for a number of reasons, and have added to the general mood of optimism around UAE cricket at present.
This series has followed on swiftly from the success of the country’s age-group cricketers, who beat West Indies and Ireland on their way to claiming the plate at the Under 19 World Cup in the Caribbean.
The senior time have slipped straight back into form, despite not playing World Cup League cricket in two years – and in spite of the fact they are up against the top side in the competition.
Oman still lead the table, having now played 22 matches. UAE, by contrast, have played just nine. From those games, they have won five, with three losses, and one match washed out.
Ahmed Raza’s side have a busy schedule ahead of them as they look to make up for series which were postponed because of Covid.
UAE have back-to-back tri-series in the WCL2 on home soil next month. First, they face Oman and Namibia, before taking on Nepal and Papua New Guinea in the second half of March.