CP Rizwan says UAE want "to make an impact in world cricket" after picking up their first victory in T20 World Cup history.
The national team’s seven-run win over Namibia in Geelong on Thursday ended their opposition’s chances of advancing to the Super 12 phase of the event.
The UAE themselves also exited at the group stage, and will board a flight back to Dubai early on Friday.
The 15-hour trip home will be made more bearable by their thrilling success in their final game in Australia.
It was just the second World Cup win in the country’s cricket history, after they beat the Netherlands in 1996 in the 50-over version, and Rizwan hopes it will prompt many more.
“It has been a really good journey,” captain Rizwan said. “There have been a lot of good moments. There are lessons to be learnt. With this first win, we can take this forward and try to make an impact in world cricket further also.”
Rizwan himself played a fine hand with the bat, as UAE reached 148-3 from their 20 overs.
First, he shared in a 58-run stand with Muhammad Waseem, who made 50. Then at the end, he and Basil Hameed put on 35 in just 18 balls as UAE finished their innings on a high.
After his late overs cameo, Hameed also shone with the ball, making early inroads into the Namibia batting.
“When you have that sort of innings you carry forward the momentum into your bowling as well,” Hameed said.
“More than anything I desperately wanted some runs. Everybody had been working hard for UAE cricket. Everybody wanted to win the game and give something for the nation back at home.
“I enjoyed it, and it meant I had good positive vibes in bowling and fielding as well.”
Waseem earned the player of the match award, primarily for his half-century, but also for the way he closed out the death overs when faced with the fearsome prospect of David Wiese.
Wiese played a heroic turn, dragging Namibia from 69-7 after 12.4 overs to the point where they required 20 from the last two overs.
Zahoor Khan bowled a brilliant penultimate over which went for six. It meant Waseem, with his part-time seamers, needed to defended 14 off the last.
He managed it, with Wiese being expertly caught on the long-on boundary off the fourth ball by 19-year-old batter Alishan Sharafu.
Waseem had dropped Wiese off his own bowling in the 17th over, and he said it was a relief to finally remove him.
“I was very upset because I hardly drop catches,” Waseem said. “It is very rare that I drop one. When I did drop him – I was under it, had judged it, but it caught the fingers instead of the palm – I thought it was a big mistake.
“But the way Zahoor bowled that 19th over, I got my confidence back.”