The UAE’s T20 World Cup qualifying campaign was dealt a blow when Oman handed them a seven-wicket defeat in their Group B opener at the Zayed Cricket stadium on Friday.
The hosts put into bat first but were restricted to 108-9 and their neighbours from across the border completed the victory in style, with Zeeshan Maqsood hoisting medium pacer Junaid Siddiqui to the long leg fence to the maximum.
Aqib Ilyas played the anchor role for Oman, with a top score of 51-ball 45 not out, while medium pacers Fayyaz Butt and Bilal Khan took three wickets apiece.
The UAE meet Ireland, who came off with an eight-wicket triumph over Hong Kong earlier in the day, next on Saturday.
The UAE were without three key players – Mohammed Naveed, Shaiman Anwar and Qadeer Ahmed – suspended on charges with 13 counts of breaching the ICC’s anti-corruption code.
The UAE’s off-field woes appeared to have an impact on the field without their services.
Naveed was captain and spearheaded the bowling, and contributed in the batting department with the ability to score quick runs; Shaiman is the team’s most established batsman and Qadeer plays a key role with his medium pacers.
Oman electing to field first under lights, struck in the very first over when Aqib Ilyas took a low catch at backward point off left arm seamer Bilal Khan to dismiss Ashfaq Ahmed.
The UAE suffered a further blow when Ghulam Shabber, trying to steal a single, was run out to a direct hit from Khurram Nawaz.
Opener Chirag Suri lofted the next delivery to Zeeshan Maqsood off medium pacer Mohammed Nadeem as two wickets fell in two deliveries for the UAE to be in a spot at 29 for three in the sixth over.
That left the two most established batsmen – Rohan Mustafa and Rameez Shahzad – to rebuild their inning.
It was slow going for them, though, taking their side to 50 in 10.4 overs, the pair taking 34 balls to score 21.
However, just as they wanted to accelerate the scoring, Shahzad (14) went for a big shot and had his stumps knocked back by left arm spinner Khawar.
Mustafa fell shortly after and Mohammed Usman then chipped in with a useful 24-ball 27.
Earlier, Singapore stunned Scotland by two runs and the Netherlands outplayed Kenya by 30 runs, in a couple of Group A games in Dubai.