UAE claim greatest scalp yet after beating New Zealand on triumphant night in Dubai

National team power to seven-wicket win as they level T20 series against world No 3 tourists

UAE captain Muhammad Waseem scored a fifty to help seal a seven-wicket win over New Zealand in the second T20 in Dubai. Photo: ECB
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The UAE claimed the greatest scalp yet in the history of the game in the country as they beat New Zealand at Dubai International Stadium.

The touring side are ranked No 3 in the world, and they had played in the T20 World Cup final at the same ground the last time they toured UAE two years ago.

And yet they were soundly beaten by a thriving young UAE side, who controlled the game from more or less start to finish. They sealed a seven-wicket win with over four overs to spare.

To add to the cheeriness, there were even people there to see it. The UAE have played in front of bigger crowds before, at Asia Cups, World Cups, and when they are facing cricket-mad Nepal. It is questionable whether they have ever had more home support than this, though.

It may have appeared diluted in the vastness of the 25,000-seater Dubai International Stadium, but it was a very appreciable turnout, well into four figures. And the loudest cheers were for the home team.

Admittedly, it was good natured in both directions. At one stage in the first innings, a handful of young children were sat on the railings on the boundary edge. They were wearing All Blacks rugby shirts, but waving UAE flags.

Having won the toss and opted the field for the second time in two games, the home side were again outstanding with the ball.

Mohammed Jawadullah set the tone, both by the way he started with the new ball, then how he battled through pain to keep them in the ascendancy.

The left-armer, who works as an electrician in Al Ain, was into the side as a replacement for Junaid Siddique, the senior fast bowler in the squad.

He bowled Tim Seifert, New Zealand’s top scorer in the first game, cheaply.

Later he twice required treatment on the field for what appeared to be a calf injury yet carried on to complete his quota of four overs. His reward was sparkling figures of 2-16.

He dovetailed smartly with another young leftie. Aayan Khan, who was playing his 35th international match, even though he is not 18 until mid-November, took three wickets.

Starting in the powerplay and ending his quota by the end of the ninth over, he finished with 3-20. It was remarkably assured for a 17-year-old playing against one of the leading sides in the world.

Although Mark Chapman did his best to counter attack, as he top scored with 63, the home team will have been delighted to limit the tourists to 142-8.

As happened in the first match of the series, their optimism at the start of the chase was immediately punctured.

Tim Southee started with a wicket-maiden, having Aryansh Sharma, who had been UAE’s star turn two nights earlier, brilliantly caught at slip by Jimmy Neesham.

Muhammed Waseem and Vriitya Aravind repaired the damage smartly, though, sharing 40 for the second wicket. The highlight of their dapper alliance was when Aravind exquisitely clipped Kyle Jamieson miles back into the stands at backward square leg.

As an indicator of how rattled the New Zealanders were at that stage, Jamieson gave Aravind a pointed glare when he dismissed him later in the over. Somehow, Aravind managed to cut the ball straight off the face of his bat onto the top of his off stump.

Waseem did not let up. Having been dropped on 41 by Ben Lister off Cole McConchie, he went to his half century in 27 balls. He fell two deliveries later, having smacked four sixes in his innings of 55.

Even without their captain, the UAE were not going to be denied. Asif Khan and Basil Hameed saw them through to the win with a flurry of fours, and they were cheered to the echo as they did so.

Updated: August 19, 2023, 5:33 PM