Chirag Suri might have marked his 27th birthday on Friday in unbecoming fashion with a first-ball duck in the UAE’s opening day win over Ireland in the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
All he was really doing was delaying the celebration for 24 hours. A day later he made a sparkling return to run-scoring form with 81 runs, and the man of the match award in victory over Germany at the Oman Cricket Academy.
It says much about the focus of the national team on their sole goal – a place at the World Cup – that Suri was in little mood to toast his latest milestone after the 24 run win in Muscat on Saturday.
Instead, he pointed out that his side had dropped short of the high standards they had set so far on tour, and felt that he had let the chance of a hundred slip through his hands.
The opener was out in the 20th over, after an innings comprising just 54 balls, but he felt he had let his scoring rate dip when he might have accelerated in the closing overs.
“It was good to get some runs and some time in the middle after yesterday, but I felt I could have finished the game better,” Suri said.
“There was a hundred out there for the taking but I wasn’t clinical enough. These are things you have to look at, and go back and hopefully correct before the bigger games.”
Suri put on 83 for the first wicket with Muhammad Waseem, who made 50 in 30 balls, within the first nine overs of the UAE innings.
He shared 94 for the third wicket with Vriitya Aravind (40), too, as UAE made their way to 191-5 from their 20 overs.
Germany proved to be no pushovers as they were 85-1 in the 10th over, and 121-4 in the 16th, with Justin Broad making 62.
Rohan Mustafa applied the brakes on the chase, as he took 2-18 from four overs, while Kashif Daud ended with four wickets.
“It is always difficult against teams you don’t know too well,” Suri said.
“They can surprise you because you don’t quite know the patterns of the bowlers or the batsmen. It’s not like you can set plans because you haven’t really seen them.
“They played fearless cricket. That was to their advantage. After 15 or 16 overs of their batting, they were still in the game.
“Congratulations to them for the way they came out. I think we are still playing really good cricket. It is key to keep taking the positives out of the game.”
Venkat Ganesan, the Germany captain, said the performance against UAE was more reflective of his side’s talent that their loss to Bahrain a day earlier.
“Yesterday [against Bahrain] was an aberration as to what we are as a team,” Ganesan said.
“Losing six wickets for six runs, sometimes it is a tough sport. Things like that happen and what was key for us was how we bounce back from that.
“We know what we are capable of as a team, and today I think we showed that on the field against one of the best sides in the tournament.”
UAE face Bahrain in the final pool match on Monday knowing victory would assure them top place in the group and a semi-final against second place from the other pool. That would be one of Nepal, Oman or Canada.
Ireland beat Bahrain by 21 runs in the other game on Saturday afternoon.