India on a different level but UAE endured a bad day in Cricket World Cup defeat

India's World Cup confidence continued to climb as they beat the UAE by nine wickets in their Pool B match at Perth's WACA Ground on Saturday.

Ravinchandran Ashwin, second left, took four wickets to help put India in a controlling position against the UAE. Paul Kane / Getty Images
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For much of a chastening day for the UAE team, it seemed as though they were intent on saving the tournament organisers on their electricity bill.

In the end, the national team did not even get that bit quite right.

The world champion Indians beat the part-time players from the Emirates with such haste, the Waca Ground’s floodlights had only just been switched on when victory was secured.

Still, at least the national team managed to hang on for long enough for the game to go on after the dinner break, so at least those adverts will still have been aired. They are not so unprofitable after all.

There are ways to excuse away this performance. For a start, the UAE had played just three matches against sides from within cricket’s top eight nations in the previous 19 years.


Their opposition come from a country of more than a billion people, where the main pastime and national obsession is cricket. The team also happen to be supported by the most cash-rich organisation in the sport.

But let us make no apologies, this was a bad day for the UAE cricket team – which is something that happens to everyone in sport.

On the other side of the Tasman Sea yesterday, Australia had been shot out by New Zealand for not many more runs than the 102 the UAE scored, and at a small ground conducive to high scoring.

As the UAE captain Mohammed Tauqir said, these things happen. The important thing is how they respond, with tests against Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies to come.

“We had two good games then one off day,” Tauqir said, as the nine-wicket defeat to India followed close finishes against Zimbabwe and Ireland in the previous two pool games.

“We would like to forget about this and erase this game as soon as possible.”

Much as they have tried in the indoor nets at the ICC Academy in Dubai, it is impossible to accurately simulate batting on the world’s fastest track, which the Waca Ground is famed for having.

Three of the UAE’s top order batsmen clearly owed their downfall to the pace and bounce that is unique to this venue.

Andri Berenger and Amjad Ali, the openers, were both caught by the wicketkeeper MS Dhoni after miscuing attempted pull shots to rising, short-pitched deliveries.

Then Khurram Khan, a master of the sweep shot on low, bouncing wickets in Sharjah and Dubai, perished playing the shot to Ravi Ashwin.

It bounced and clipped his gloves, ballooning to Suresh Raina running around from slip.

The fact three of the leading batsmen fell to spin said so much about the exalted opposition they were up against.

In the company they usually keep, in the tier of international cricket just below the elite, UAE batsmen defer to nobody when it comes to facing slow bowling.

Ashwin is a different level altogether. In addition to the talisman, Khurram, Ashwin accounted for Krishna Karate and Swapnil Patil, each of whom would have grown up facing quality slow bowling in their native India.

The delivery that got Patil, in particular, was a throwback to the times when bats were thin and 250 was a mind-boggling total in limited-overs cricket.

It was a perfectly flighted arm-ball, which curved away, rather than spinning back, caught Patil’s outside edge and was caught at slip.

“He had a success with his quicker one which he was getting to swing,” Dhoni said of Ashwin.

Tauqir said: “It is a difficult wicket, with a lot of bounce and carry, but their bowlers outplayed us.

“They bowled some excellent areas and we couldn’t cope with that.”


Star performer

R Ashwin (India)

An education. Not much mystery about his off spin – no doosras, teesras or long sleeves on his blue shirt – just some guile and an astute assessment of what the conditions required. His old-fashioned use of the arm ball, which did for Swapnil Patil, was classy. It would have been a pleasure to watch, were it not so ruthless.


Andri Berenger (UAE)

Harsh to pick on one person on a day of collective underachievement, but the talented opener has had three soft dismissals in the tournament. Two have come via the pull shot, which he usually plays well, but this time he lobbed a catch to MS Dhoni at the wicket, off Umesh Yadav’s bowling.

Key moment

Sometimes the UAE’s top order fires, sometimes it does not. Either way, while Khurram Khan is at the wicket, there is always the feeling the national team can post a competitive total. When he top-edged a sweep off Ashwin, that was caught around the corner by Suresh Raina scurrying across from slip, the game was up for the UAE.

UAE rating 4/10

The world champions are a step up from anything the UAE have faced before and the pitch was the direct opposite of what they are used to. Expectations, then, should always have been modest but it was still a limp ­effort.

India rating 8/10

They can only beat what is put in front of them and this was clean and clinical. Before Raina put down a simple chance off Mohammed Naveed, which would not prove costly, India had not dropped a catch in the tournament. They are maintaining high standards in each discipline, which bodes well for their title defence.


Just when the cause of the non-Test nations was starting to snowball, a stark reality check. Playing well against nations of a like standard is one thing but fighting for parity against the behemoths is just as important. The UAE need to find a way to do that, and quickly. Their next assignment is against Pakistan on Wednesday.

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