Chirag Suri said he will be returning home with a neat wedding anniversary present after helping inspire UAE to a record-breaking win over Namibia in the Cricket World Cup League 2 in Sharjah.
The 27-year-old opener and his wife Anmol will be able to toast their second anniversary on Sunday - as well as his first home century in one-day international cricket.
Suri made 103 as UAE amassed the highest score in the team’s ODI history. He shared in a partnership worth 151 with fellow opener Muhammad Waseem which was the highest first-wicket alliance for UAE in the format.
He then put on 105 for the second with Vriitya Aravind, who was named player of the match for his remarkable 76-ball innings of 115.
By the time all the carnage was over, the hosts had racked up a massive 348 for three, which was 40 runs more than their previous record in ODIs.
Namibia managed 305 for nine from their 50 overs in reply, as UAE took two more points to consolidated their place in third in the table, behind Oman and Scotland.
“It was a good way to end this series, and a good present to take back home,” Suri said.
“It was special. This is Sharjah, and I have grown up on this ground. This was my first ODI century in UAE, at home, and I think it was good that the hard work we have put in for the past five months is coming together.
“We are being more consistent now and it is important we keep putting in these performances with a busy schedule ahead. We won’t get much rest, but we are better off.
“Last year we were complaining that we didn’t get much cricket. We are not complaining now about too much cricket, but it is a case of making sure our bodies are used to it.
“We need to brush up on our fitness, because these things will matter when you play the top sides. It is a lesson for us to learn to keep on getting better.”
After two losses previously in the series against Oman, captain Ahmed Raza had warned his misfiring batters that any more mediocre performances might cost them their places.
They responded in emphatic fashion. Waseem made his first half-century in the format, as he ended with 78, while Aravind’s century was also his first in international cricket for the UAE.
“I thought [Suri] played fantastically and was very well supported by Waseem," Raza said.
“That is the Waseem we know. He is still trying to crack 50-over cricket. It is really important that we give him the clarity. If the ball is there for him to hit, he should go for it.
“It is a day he can look back on and say he belongs to one-day cricket as well. He has already proven that in international cricket in T20s. I think this game will definitely help him going forward.
“[And] it is not easy for a young kid like that [Aravind] to come in and continue with that tempo, which he did.
“Once he got his 50, everyone in the dugout believed he would go on and get a hundred. If he got a hundred we knew we would go on to post a very good total, which we did.”
When Aravind reached three figures, his first thought was to glance up to the stands, from where his mum and dad were cheering on.
“They come to watch all the time, so it feels good to get a hundred in front of them,” said Aravind, who was player of the tournament when UAE qualified for the T20 World Cup last month.
“I have been getting good starts and I knew I had to cash in become form doesn’t stay forever. It was good that we had a good platform to build on.”