Ahmed Raza demands better after UAE wilt against Scotland

National team fall to another series-opening loss in Cricket World Cup League 2

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Ahmed Raza implored UAE’s batsmen to take ownership of a series comeback after their bruising 64-run loss to Scotland in Aberdeen on Wednesday.

The national team crumbled against the pace of Chris Sole and the left-arm spin of Mark Watt in the opening game of the Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series.

They were bowled out with more than eight overs left to play, marking the latest in a series of poor starts to tours.

The national team have lost the first match in five of the six tri-nations series they have played in the competition so far, and Raza says it is not good enough.

“If you want to look into excuses, you can give so many,” Raza, the UAE captain, said.

“These are different wickets. We aren’t playing at home. But we shouldn’t look into that at all. We have toured well, so we can’t make any excuses.

“We want to start series well. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you are chasing the series. Now we are 1-0 down with three games left.”

The national team will face United States at the same ground on Thursday, knowing that points are crucial if they are to maintain their position in the top three of the table.

“Fighting for third position is not where we want to be as we feel we have played good enough cricket to push for second, or even first,” Raza said.

“This group has been together for two years now, so the message is simple. The batters have to take ownership.

“We can’t be all out with eight overs to go and 60 runs to get. That is a walk in the park if you have wickets in hand.”

UAE bowler Rohan Mustafa celebrates the wicket of Chris Greaves. Peter Della Penna / Cricket Scotland

UAE had to withstand a blistering onslaught by Scotland at the start of the game.

Kyle Coetzer, the former Scotland captain and an Aberdeen local, powered the first four balls of the day to the boundary rope.

After two overs, the home side were 26 for no loss, looking like they were setting the foundations for a huge total.

So it went on as Craig Wallace, the other opener, hit a six off Sabir Ali into a neighbouring garden.

The home’s owner fetched the ball and threw it back. He then said he was off to work and that if any more balls needed retrieving, they were welcome to scale the wall to do so.

Thanks to the excellence of Zahoor Khan, the damage was limited. First, UAE’s senior-most seamer dragged back the scoring rate, then made inroads with wickets, too.

Sabir, the left-arm seamer who was making his debut for UAE, profited from Zahoor’s control at the other end, with the wickets of Coetzer and Chris McBride.

From 52 for no loss, the hosts quickly became 79 for three. Calum MacLeod dropped anchor as he made 76 from 88 balls, before becoming one of four victims for Zahoor.

Scotland’s total of 262 was some way short of what they might have been expecting given the rapid start.

Initially, UAE struggled to cope with the fire of Sole, the home side’s fastest bowler.

He had Muhammad Waseem expertly caught by MacLeod at second slip, then saw Vriitya Aravind edge behind to Matt Cross.

He got the full set of UAE’s vaunted top three soon after, when Chirag Suri went the same way as Aravind.

The national team were lucky serious injury was not added to insult. Sole twice hit CP Rizwan with sickening blows on the helmet.

The first was so fierce, Sole ended up appealing for caught and bowled as the ball bounced all the way back to him.

Rizwan battled on pluckily, only to fall softly for 32 when he chipped up a catch to short fine-leg off Michael Leask’s off-spin.

Rohan Mustafa, not for the first time in the recent past, was left to attempt to piece together a winning total while those around him departed.

The all-rounder got to 65 not out in a 102-ball vigil, but ran out of partners as UAE were bowled out for 198. Watt completed the rout, as he took four for 30.

Updated: August 10, 2022, 6:44 PM
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