Rohan Mustafa believes the UAE's overwhelming victory over Ireland has restored their confidence and the team can go all the way in the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
The former captain grabbed four wickets and smashed an electrifying 39 from 16 balls to set up a five-wicket win at the Zayed stadium on Saturday.
“Ireland are the only Test playing side in this competition and to win over them, especially after losing our first game (against Oman), was a huge result for us,” Mustafa said.
“In the T20 format, any team can win but this result was a massive confidence boost for the team.”
Ireland, opting to start with spinners George Dockrell and Paul Stirling, got it wrong against a side so comfortable against the slower bowlers, particularly in home conditions.
Mustafa smashed four fours from the first five deliveries he faced from Dockrell and in the next over hammered Stirling for three successive boundaries as the UAE, chasing 125, raced to 32 in two overs.
“There was no plan to go out there and smash the bowling around but when I got them I disposed them,” Mustafa said. "As a senior player you have to play true to your potentials and that’s what I did. Everything worked out pretty well for me and the important thing is that we won.”
That knock set the platform for the UAE’s run-chase after bowling out Ireland for 125. Mustafa was second out at 61 in the seventh over but not before he had eased fired the into a great position for the remaining batsmen to complete the job.
Darius D’Silva, who replaced Chirag Suri, and Mohammed Usman, shared 36 for the third wicket before the latter fell to a catch behind at 97 in the 12th over, still needing 29 from 48 balls.
The hosts lost both Rameez Shahzad and D’Silva to needless run outs. Waheed Ahmed (15) and Mohammad Boota (2) then took them over the line without any further hiccups for their team to bounce back from the defeat to Oman on the previous night.
The UAE opted to field first and opened with with spinners at both ends before bringing in medium pacer Junaid Siddiqui to provide the breakthrough in the third over.
Kevin O’Brien (14) flicked the first delivery toward the mid-wicket for Ashfaq Ahmed to dive to his right and hold on to an excellent catch, leaving Ireland one down at 20.
Stirling was the only Ireland batsman to come up with a knock of substance. The opener held his team’s inning together with a well-complied 58-ball 72.
Stirling ran himself out to a throw from the long-on fence when trying to steal a second run in the penultimate over. His departure saw a dramatic collapse as Ireland lost their last five wickets in eight balls for the addition of five runs.
In the other games, Scotland bounced back from their shock defeat to Singapore in the opener, to beat Kenya by 31 runs.
The Netherlands made it two out-of-two with victory over Namibia by 44 runs. Jersey defeated Nigeria by 69 runs and Papua New Guinea coasted to a 10-wicket triumph over Bermuda.