Karthik Meiyappan inspired UAE to a victory over Singapore in Muscat that kept alive their chances of qualification for the Asia Cup.
The leg-spinner took three for 13 on his return to the side, as the much-changed national team claimed a vital win at the Oman Cricket Academy ground.
The 47-run success over a team ranked 11 places below them in the ICC standings put UAE back in contention for a place in the main event.
One side will advance to play against India and Pakistan in Dubai and Sharjah next week.
Had UAE lost to Singapore, progress would have been impossible. Now, victory against Hong Kong in Wednesday’s final match could seal their place.
Ahead of the start, the national team sprung the latest in a series of surprises in making four changes to the starting XI after the previous night’s loss to Kuwait.
Absent from the starting XI to face Singapore were the three leading wicket-takers in UAE’s T20 international history.
That included Ahmed Raza, the former captain who was deposed on the eve of this tour to Muscat, as well as another previous captain, Rohan Mustafa.
Zahoor Khan, the most experienced pace bowler in the country, was also out.
The changes did mean recalls for Sultan Ahmed, a left-arm spinner who has been curiously absent since last October, until which point he was a mainstay of the T20 side, and Meiyappan.
Sultan was back to his thrifty best, with one for 15 from 3.3 overs, while a pair of wickets in consecutive deliveries for Meiyappan ended Singapore's resistance in the run chase. Fast bowler Junaid Siddique also excelled, taking three for 14.
The fact UAE were able to post 160 for eight from their 20 overs was due to the belligerence of Muhammad Waseem at the top of the order.
The prolific opener posted his sixth score in excess of 50, in just the 14th match of his T20I career, as he top scored with 58.