Pakistan ‘get out of jail’ admits Waqar Younis against UAE as Amjad shines at Asia Cup

The UAE suffered a third defeat in the competition, but impressed again in the seven-wicket loss to their more celebrated opponents. Waqar Younis still believes Pakistan are a force to be reckoned with, writes Paul Radley.

Pakistan's Shoaib Malik, right, celebrates with Pakistan's Umar Akmal after scoring a half century during their Asia Cup T20 victory over the UAE at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on February 29, 2016. / AFP / MUNIR UZ ZAMAN
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DHAKA // Waqar Younis acknowledged his Pakistan side “got out of jail” against UAE, but the coach still believes they are a force to be reckoned with in the Asia Cup.

The national team suffered a third defeat in the competition, but impressed again in the seven-wicket loss to their more celebrated opponents.

Pakistan required a watchful partnership between Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal to complete the win, after Amjad Javed, the UAE captain, had taken three quick wickets at the top of their innings.

The unconvincing win for Pakistan followed their disappointing opening defeat against India, but Waqar remains unconcerned.

“I don’t know if many people think it, but I really think that we are a force in this tournament,” Waqar said.

“In T20, you are going to get into jail and you are going to have to get out of jail at times. That is exactly what happened today.

“We had problems then our mature players took us out of that. The fact we didn’t play well in this game does not mean were are not good enough.”

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Mohammed Amir was just as impressive as he had been against India - if only slightly less incisive - as he returned extraordinary figures of two for six off his four overs. All but three of his deliveries were dot balls.

Despite his one-man masterclass, the UAE were able to cobble together 129 for six from their 20 overs.

Shaiman Anwar, who has otherwise had a curiously fallow Asia Cup, chose this moment to remind everyone of his talent.

It was thanks to his innings of 46 that the national had any semblance of a defendable total. When they were three for 12 at the start of the innings, it looked like being a quick game.

The side who were forced to qualify to reach this stage, and did so with resounding wins over Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Oman last week, scented a shock win when they knocked over three of Pakistan’s top order early in the reply.

Amjad dismissed Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor and Mohammed Hafeez within his first two overs. The national team seemed well on top at that point, but Malik and Akmal repaired the innings cannily.

They shared an unbroken alliance worth 117, and pressed on the accelerator to seal the win with eight deliveries to spare.

“If you survive the first six overs you can play your shots,” Malik, who was named man of the match, said. “This is what Akmal and I did.”

Amjad said his side had been unable to make their advantage count after the early incisions in the Pakistan innings.

“When you are playing against a professional side like Pakistan, who are really famous for T20, there is a lot of pressure,” Amjad said.

“If you score 130, then get some early wickets when they are chasing it, it is difficult for a side like UAE to take it to the end.

“We need experienced players out there to support you. Those experienced players were missing at that time.”​

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