Rohan Mustafa’s sparkling all-round display helped UAE to another uplifting victory on tour in Oman as they beat Ireland by 13 runs on Sunday.
The win meant the UAE are now undefeated in seven matches in all cricket stretching back to October.
It was also their third T20 win in a row against the Irish, who they face in the group stage of the T20 World Cup Qualifier, starting on Friday in Muscat.
Despite their good run of form, the players have been keen to point out the serious business on tour remains the qualifying matches.
The eight-team Qualifier carries with it two places to play at the World Cup in Australia later this year. The quadrangular series in which the teams are currently playing is essentially some match practice ahead of that.
After he had made 49 a day earlier against Nepal in the first match of the four-team series, Mustafa made no mistake this time around against earlier, as he notched a half century.
His innings of 54 was the top score as UAE made 178 for five from their 20 overs. He also shared in a stand worth 94 for the third wicket with Vriitya Aravind, who made 50.
The UAE’s total might have seemed challenging enough, but given the high-scoring nature of the ground in Al Amerat, plus the fact they were facing a full Test playing nation, meant defending would be tough.
Ireland’s start was poor, as their batting kingpin Paul Stirling was run out by Aravind for one.
The Irish hit back strongly, though, with some fast scoring from captain Andy Balbirnie (42) and Gareth Delany.
It was Mustafa who dragged his side back into the game. First he bowled Delany with his off-spin, then he caught Balbirnie off the leg-spin of Karthik Meiyappan.
When he subsequently ran out Lorcan Tucker, Ireland’s wicketkeeper batsman, the game had turned inexorably in the national team’s favour. It was left to Zahoor Khan to close out the win.
The UAE will complete their preparations for the Qualifier when they face hosts Oman in a T20 international on Monday.