CP Rizwan hails Afghanistan’s ‘extraordinary’ Karim Janat but says UAE have made progress

National team were denied a famous series win in Abu Dhabi by a remarkable innings in the decider

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CP Rizwan said his UAE side had emerged from their series against Afghanistan with confidence restored, despite being denied a shock win at the last by an “extraordinary” Karim Janat innings.

The Afghan all-rounder hit 56 in 22 balls in the deciding T20 international on Sunday night, including a six to win it off the first ball of the final over.

Janat’s counter attack took the game away from UAE, who had appeared on the brink of an upset up until his arrival at the crease in the 14th over.

Rizwan, the UAE captain, acknowledged the home team had been outplayed by one man, but was encouraged by the way his side had competed with the Afghans.

Against a side including star names like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Rahmanullah Gurbaz, the national team had claimed a comprehensive nine-wicket win in the second match of the three-game series.

They ultimately fell short due to a combination of Janat’s brilliance, plus some untidy fielding on their own part, having dropped three catches during their defence of their 163 for six.

“Catches make an impact and we dropped the catch of Ibrahim Zadran when it was early and he went on to score 60,” Rizwan said.

“Having said that, we were in the game till the 14th over but the way Karim Janat played, from ball one he was on the money. Sometimes you have to give credit to the batsman.

“It was an extraordinary innings. But to put a nation like Afghanistan under such pressure throughout almost the whole game, it is a huge testament to the bowlers and the way they bowled.

“There are a lot of learning from this game. Next time a situation comes like this, we can react better and try to reduce and minimise the boundaries he can score.

“But he was extraordinary, and we have to give credit and applaud him for that.”

The national team have suffered a poor run of results of late. Although the 2-1 loss to Afghanistan is another defeat, Rizwan said the manner in which his side performed provides reason for optimism.

“There are a lot of positives,” Rizwan said. “We were discussing in the dressing room that we had played well in patches, we just need to believe that we can win.

“[Saturday] was the day when it came to reality, and we defeated a team like Afghanistan, a top-ranked nation who regularly play against nations like India and Pakistan.

“To defeat them the way we did, by nine wickets, is huge – the highest victory by an Associate member against a Full member. It is quite remarkable.

“Obviously, we would have loved a series victory, especially given where we were, but hopefully we can build on this and keep improving.”

Updated: February 20, 2023, 6:45 AM