CP Rizwan says UAE 'have only ourselves to blame' for shock loss to Kuwait

National team now face struggle to qualify for Asia Cup after one-wicket defeat on opening night

UAE cricket captain CP Rizwan, left, shakes hands with his Kuwaiti counterpart in Muscat ahead of their 2022 Asia Cup Qualifier. Photo: ACC
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CP Rizwan said UAE had let themselves down in their shock defeat to Kuwait in the Asia Cup Qualifier.

The national team suffered a one-wicket loss to their Gulf neighbours in Muscat on Sunday night.

It was their first match in the four-team competition, which carries with it a place at the main event in Dubai and Sharjah.

They now face Singapore on Monday and Hong Kong on Wednesday knowing that only two wins will give them a chance of advancing.

The game against Kuwait was the first under new leadership, with Rizwan assuming the captaincy from Ahmed Raza on the day the side flew to Oman.

“I would like to congratulate Kuwait for their extraordinary victory [but], to be honest, we have only ourselves to blame,” Rizwan said.

“We had our moments but were unable to grab those opportunities. We would have liked to start with a victory.

“We could have done better in the field. With the wickets in hand, we were short by about 15-20 runs, and this was crucial in the end.

“Now we have to try to win the remaining matches, but if we don’t play to our potential, we can only blame ourselves.”

The UAE’s tally of 173 for five from their 20 overs should have been beyond Kuwait, but they rallied brilliantly. Photo: ACC

UAE seemed well set for a huge score after Chirag Suri, who made a career-best 88, shared stands worth 78 with Muhammed Waseem for the first wicket, and 81 with Vriitya Aravind for the second.

A faltering close to the innings meant they set Kuwait 174 to win.

Kuwait, who are ranked 15 places below UAE in the ICC standings, were not deterred.

They achieved the win off the penultimate ball of the match. They know that two more wins in the competition will guarantee them matches against India and Pakistan at the main event.

“I have no words; this is a historic moment for Kuwait cricket,” Mohammed Aslam, the Kuwait captain, said.

“At this moment, the boys, the team management, and everyone on our team is incredibly happy.

“We have been attempting to win against UAE since 2020, we played against them previously on two occasions but were unable to win.

“This time we had planned our approach, and prepared by analysing all their players, and as a team we did well today.

Edson Silva was named player of the match for his late cameo of 25 from 14 balls. Photo: ACC

“Our aim is to win our next two games and have the chance to play against teams like India and Pakistan.

Edson Silva was named player of the match for his late cameo of 25 from 14 balls, which took Kuwait to the brink of the shock win.

“I was given very clear instructions about my role before the game by my coach and captain, and I kept cool and calm through the game,” Silva said.

“The team remained optimistic through the game. We will focus on our next two games, and we believe we can qualify for the Asia Cup.”

Updated: August 22, 2022, 7:05 AM
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