Adnan Mufti struck a maiden Class A century to steer the UAE to a 70-run win over Nepal to clinch the two-match ICC World Cricket League Championship 2-0 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Friday in Abu Dhabi.
The left hander arrived at the crease when his side were struggling 39-5 to hit 104 of 89 balls and revive the innings.
He and Mohammed Boota (37) shared an 80-run stand for the sixth wicket to revive their inning.
The UAE were bowled out for 195 in four balls left of their inning but they hit back to dismiss Nepal for 132 to collect four points from the two games and move up two places above their opponents and Namibia in the eight-team table.
Netherlands topped the group by defeating Namibia 2-0 and Scotland finished second also with a 2-0 result over Kenya in the other games both in Dubai.
Mufti, 32, was pleased with his day’s work to get his side out of trouble and end the year on a high.
“We were in a bit of a spot when I walked in and the initial plan was to play a long inning and build a partnership with Boota,” said Mufti who struck eight fours and three sixes in his knock.
“Obviously I’m very happy with my performance but more important was I was able to contribute to UAE’s victory. Of course, the bowlers did well to finish the job.”
Amjad Javed and Mohammed Naveed spearheaded the UAE’s bowling by taking five wickets between them while the spinners Rohan Mustafa (2), Imran Haider (2) and Ahmed Raza (1) accounted for the remaining five.
Dougie Brown, the UAE coach, was high praise for Mufti for his match-winning knock and for an excellent team effort overall.
“It’s nice to finish off strongly,” he said. “We quite deserved the last two wins in the 50 over-a-side format because we have played pretty good cricket, although again, we haven’t been able to piece together 100 overs in many of our games.
“Today we were five wickets down quite quickly, admittedly it was difficult batting conditions. It was a good toss to win and they bowled very well.
“Of course we should have shown more discipline with the bat with one or two loose shots to lose these five wickets. But absolute credit to Mufti and Boota batted really well.
“Boota was unfortunately got out at the wrong time but Mufti kept his head showed why he’s batting at No.7. It’s an unglamorous position for a batsman but for me every team that I was involved in had a batsman at No.7 who often played a match winning knock. That was proved again today.”
“When you play cricket as you fight as a team, the game is never dead. We were disappointed we didn’t get 20 or more runs at the end but the way we started with the ball said it for the rest of the inning.
“Naveed and Amjad bowled really well and the spinners came in the middle overs to turn the game around for us.”
The UAE’s next task is the travel to Namibia for the six-team World Cup pre-qualifiers in February.