Mohammed Jawadullah fit for decider as UAE chase more history against New Zealand

Former electrician helped sparked shock win against touring side to level series in Dubai

Muhammad Jawadullah, centre, took two vital wickets and went for just 16 runs in the UAE's shock win over New Zealand. AFP
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Mohammed Jawadullah is confident he will be fit to play in the deciding third T20 international against New Zealand on Sunday night.

The left-arm swing bowler was a revelation in the national team’s shock thrashing of the Black Caps in the second game.

He took two vital wickets and went for just 16 runs. That included having to re-bowl the last ball of his four overs as it was a waist-high no ball, then conceding three off the reload.

In the course of his extraordinary bowling effort against the world’s No 3 ranked T20I side, he twice had treatment for a calf injury.

Jawadullah said it was a recurrence of an old complaint and is sure it will not prevent him from taking his place in the side for the last game.

“I had this same thing about a year ago but I feel fit now and am confident I will be able to play,” Jawadullah said.

Saturday evening was giddying for UAE. Until that point, New Zealand had been the only country never to have lost a match against a non-Test playing nation.

And yet they were dominated by a UAE side which had seven players aged 24 or younger.

Aayan Khan, the 17-year-old spinner, was player of the match for his three-wicket haul. Captain Muhammad Waseem then led the way with a brutal half-century as the hosts chased the win with seven wickets and more than four overs to spare.

“I am really proud to have been part of this effort by the team,” Jawadullah, 24, said.

“It is a very historic day, beating a team like New Zealand. It is phenomenal for our entire group, and I am very happy. It is one of the proudest days for me in my cricket journey.”

Jawadullah’s excellence belies the fact he only turned professional recently. Up until earlier this year he was working as an electrician at Al Ain Golf Club.

He was granted a central contract by the Emirates Cricket Board after shining at the DP World International League T20 and has started to establish himself in the side since.

He believes his former colleagues will have been thrilled to see his performance against the New Zealanders.

“Of course, that was a past life for me,” he said of his work as an electrician. “Now I am able to play cricket professionally, but I think all my ex-workmates will be really happy for me. I still feel a good connection with them, and they really helped get me here.”

He said he had been feeling nerves after being brought into the side to replace senior fast bowler Junaid Siddique, but they were dissipated by the fine start he made.

“I was a little scared for my first two or three balls, but when they fell in the right place I was comfortable. I felt like I could tackle these players. The nerves were there, but because I had a good start I was able to get into my rhythm.

“The first two or three balls set the tone. My rhythm was right, I was hitting the right area, and all the nerves went away. Whatever I was fearing, I was able to get rid of that.”

Tim Southee, New Zealand’s captain, said his side had been soundly beaten by their hosts.

“It is the beauty of sport,” Southee said. “A lot of credit had to go to the UAE team, they outplayed us in all three facets.

“We know in T20 cricket anything can happen. We didn’t learn enough from [the opening game], we made a few mistakes that were similar to then, and they made us pay for that.”

Updated: August 20, 2023, 5:20 AM